I am often asked where I see the future of our company. I imagine when people ask me this, they’re expecting a grim response, already envisioning a future where their news comes strictly from Facebook.
But the truth is, the future I envision for Forum Communications is far from grim. I see a future that excites me as the CEO of more than 35 strong local news brands. I see journalism at its prime. I see technology and reporting coming together to deliver better content, faster.
I believe in the future of this company and the future of news today more than ever because as technology continues to change, so do we. We’re reinvesting into our newsrooms to better cover our regions, adding to our video capabilities and upgrading our news websites. We’re publishing news stories as they happen and focusing on delivering content in whichever format our readers want it. And we’re doing this all with one core value in mind: journalistic integrity -- a standard that is rare but more important than ever in our social media-frenzied world.
Because, if not for us, who is going to tell the stories of our communities? Who is going to document local history so future generations can see what we’ve lived through? Who is going to keep families informed, children safe, citizens engaged, politicians accountable and businesses thriving? I can assure you, it’s not going to be your aunt on Facebook. It’s always been us, and it will always be us.
We intend to carry out our time-honored traditions of reporting on the truth and keeping our communities connected for many years to come. But to do that, we have to make some changes to prepare ourselves for a future that includes local news -- not one that mourns the loss of it. That’s why we’ll be rolling out a new membership model on our network that will allow our most loyal digital readers to support the continuity of community journalism in exchange for all-access premium content, exclusive perks and a sense of community created by locals for locals.
And yes, that means in the coming months, we’ll be launching paywalls on our sites — including ParkRapidEnterprise.com. Casual readers will be able to continue reading a limited number of articles for free each month. But those who strongly value our content and want unlimited access to our entire network of news sites, those who truly believe in the value of journalism and those who simply want some extra perks with their news subscription, will be asked to become a member -- subscribing to either digital-only access or a bundled combination of digital and print home delivery.
Members will receive:
• Unlimited, unrestricted access to quality journalism content across more than 35 news and niche content sites within the Forum Communications network
• Access to the electronic replicas of any of our papers on any device
• The ability to tap into community history through archived content
• Invitations to live members-only events
• Exclusive deals and discounts
• E-newsletters and breaking news alerts
I believe in the future of journalism, and I hope you believe in us. Thank you for your support that has kept us thriving up to this point and for your continued support in the years to come.
Bill Marcil, Jr.
President & CEO