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HAGEN: A decade (and more) of newspaper changes

About one month ago, on Aug. 14, a front-page headline of your newspaper read, "Daily Republic to go digital on Mondays."

The accompanying story explained, in short, that to read The Daily Republic on Mondays, starting Sept. 17 (next week), readers need to go online and check out our E-Edition. The last Monday print edition was published Sept. 10.

Over the past few weeks, our office has taken calls, received letters and emails and fielded a wide variety of comments on the change of publication. We've listened to those readers, some angry, others more understanding.

Professionally, August was a rather interesting month for me. It marked a decade of working at this newspaper and also came the announcement of the change to a Monday E-Edition.

In August 2008, a young sports reporter fresh out of college took his first full-time job at The Daily Republic in Mitchell. Hired by a great newspaperman, Korrie Wenzel, that young sports reporter now-turned managing editor slowly but surely began learning the ropes of daily reporting.

It really is a rigorous business, but we journalists get into this job because we love telling the news. We love being there for our readers by informing, researching and storytelling.

Over the past 10 years, I've had a front-row seat watching how journalism and newspapers have changed.

As news breaks and athletic events finalize, we're pushing hard to get information quickly to our website, mitchellrepublic.com. When I was first hired, our print edition was the main focus and web was second.

Today, we spend just as much time keeping our website updated as we do planning and assembling our print product for tomorrow's edition. Our readers want the news, and we're here to deliver it on multiple platforms.

As we've adjusted our strategies, our readership has grown. We've never been read more than now. In addition to our strong print edition, our always-evolving website averaged about 1.15 million pageviews per month this year.

People, young and elderly, are using their tablets, computers and smartphones to get their news. Important to remember is we're still here for our readers. We're continuing to print a paper Tuesday through Saturday that will be delivered to print subscribers and be available at retail locations.

What's been exciting though, is recently our circulation staff held training sessions for any reader to learn how to log on and use the E-Edition. And people have attended. Those readers are willing to adjust so they get the news.

As I think back about all the letters, emails and calls we've received, not only since our Aug. 14 front-page headline, but in the past decade I've worked here, one theme is certain: People are passionate about this newspaper.

No matter the change, we at The Daily Republic will always take that responsibility seriously.

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