It’s official. In just two months, our total digital subscriber count for this Times Vedette newsletter has surpassed the total number of subscribers we had previously to the print edition —and that doesn’t even include our 3,181 online users and 10,292 page views at, or our 1,107 Facebook followers. I suspected this growth would happen, but it did so much faster than I thought it would. The pathway to growth has had a few bumps, but we keep plowing ahead. 

That’s good news for advertisers, who are now reaching more people for their marketing dollar. That’s good news for readers, who are now receiving this twice per week, providing more timely and accessible news. And that’s good news for us, as we continue to work at more modern and efficient ways to provide news and information to the people of Guthrie County. 

Change isn’t easy, as most all of you know. When I floated this idea to people six months ago, I was told it would never work. I was asked why I would give up that subscriber money. I was ridiculed by traditional publishers in the industry for forfeiting the legal revenue from the government entities they cling to for survival. 

Much of this change stems from my strong feelings that the paid publishing subscription model is outdated and broken, but there is another important and underlying reason: I don’t feel your tax dollars (or mine) should be used to fund the operations of traditional weekly newspapers. Some of you fully understand what I am referencing. Most of you don’t. Please allow me to explain.

If you ever wondered why paid subscription newspapers run the minutes and expenditures and other items from the board of supervisors, the city councils and the school boards in the small type in their back pages, the answer is simple — they get paid to do so. And thanks to the ongoing lobbying efforts of the Iowa Newspaper Association, paid subscription newspapers are the only options these government entities have. Many newspapers used to reach six or more households out of 10 in most every community they served, sometimes more. Today, most newspapers don’t reach two out of 10, some less than one out of 10. Meanwhile, your tax dollars are being used by government entities required to publish these public notices in paid subscription newspapers. Our free publications that reach every household don’t qualify. Neither does this digital email newsletter. Or internet postings. Or government websites. Or direct mailers. Or social media. Only paid subscription newspapers qualify. That’s it. 

The absurdity of this has been discussed in most every Iowa legislative session in recent years, and some laws have been changed to no longer require smaller communities to publish all legal notices in newspapers. But the absurdity continues. And you continue to pay for it. My newspaper industry colleagues hate when I bring this up, but they know it’s true, and they are simply hanging on to the legal revenue for as long as they can, fully realizing that the end is near — as it should be. 

Meanwhile, we will keep focusing on efforts to bring you the news and information you want in modern formats that reach a continually growing number of people. It is best for our advertisers. It is best for our readers. And, ultimately, it will be best for us, too. It’s what we do. 

Have a terrific Tuesday, and, as always, thank you for reading.

Shane Goodman
Editor and Publisher
Times Vedette digital newsletter