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A letter from the publisher

January 20, 2012

Dear readers,

Since its launch in 1996, herald-mail.com has established itself as the local news website with more readers and page views than any other local news company in our area. The website attracts a monthly average of 357,000 unique visitors, who look at an average of 3 million pages on our website each month.

Herald-mail.com has become the go-to site for local breaking news coverage and live streaming of special events such as Little League playoffs and the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon. It is also the go-to place to get unmatched coverage of local news from government meetings to road construction that could slow down your commute.

We will continue to be the local resource for our readers — in print and online. To do so, we need to support a 70-plus-person news-gathering operation that includes reporters, photographers, videographers, anchors, editors and support staff. I’m not counting advertising, business or delivery folks in that number. These are just the people it takes to bring you the news every day. As readers of The Herald-Mail and herald-mail.com, we know you recognize the value of our local news coverage. We also know you will understand our need to cover some of the expenses associated with this size of operation in order to preserve our ability to continue to provide quality and in-depth local news and information.

On Jan. 31, we will introduce a new membership program that will offer our readers unlimited access to the premium content we produce regardless of which of our many platforms you use. If you choose not to become a member at any level, you will still have access to 15 pages of premium online content each month and continued unlimited access to breaking news, section fronts, classifieds and other nonpremium content. Most of our casual online readers are not likely to notice any change.

Our Platinum, Gold and Silver members will not only receive the newspaper delivered to their home, but they also will have a new way to access information through our e-edition. An electronic copy of the newspaper, the e-edition will be available to everyone for the month of February, accessible via a link on herald-mail.com. Beginning in March, the e-edition — and the interactive tablet-friendly reader version — will be available to home-delivery customers only. The e-edition will be great for commuters who leave for work early in the morning. It is just one of the perks and rewards for home-delivery subscribers.

Current home-delivery print newspaper subscribers are automatically eligible for this new membership program and will receive unlimited access to online content at no additional cost. You will just need to register online to get your username and password.

Our current online-only readers can choose to subscribe to all of our products (print and online) — by far the best value — or can subscribe to our online content only. You can access a lot of information about how it will work and what it will cost by going to herald-mail.com/about/digital.

Our digital advertising customers might be asking, "Does this somehow make my herald-mail.com online advertising less valuable?" The answer is absolutely not. We sell our digital advertising packages on a cost-per-impression basis and will continue to do just that. If you buy a digital advertising package from us this year, you will be getting the exact same value per dollar as last year. In fact, if there is any change in value it will only increase, as our paying readers will obviously be more engaged than ever.

I know there is a lot of "news" content (blogs, etc.) online that is still completely free to access. I know some of it is actual journalism, but I know a lot of it is not. We pay our reporters so they can be objective and put the truth above all else in a story. Credibility still matters here and it always will, but it’s not free. We’ve invested in building that credibility, and we are committed to maintaining it.

I leave you with a personal promise from every team member here. The Herald-Mail Co. will continue to be your No. 1 source of quality journalism in a variety of formats for many years to come. If you have questions or concerns regarding any of these changes, I invite you to send me an email at andy.bruns@herald-mail.com or call my direct line at 301-791-7073 and I will be happy to talk.

Thanks for reading.

Andy Bruns, publisher
The Herald-Mail Co.

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