F5 will undergo some changes
After more than two years (or 12, depending on how you want to count it) as a weekly newspaper, F5 is going to go monthly.
We are going to publish a print version just in time for Final Friday every month. We'll keep up with our weekly (and daily, even) shenanigans online, at f5paper.com.
Our efforts are going to be concentrated on delivering better online content — more, faster, with fewer space restrictions.
Print is an amazing advertising tool. Really. People have no idea. F5 has built an online readership strong enough to carry the paper through this transition because of print newspapers.
I had a conversation with a very techy guy just the other day — a programer by trade — who approached me about a story in F5 (look for it online!) because he saw the paper out in the real world, not online. He thought our newspaper boxes were very artsy. And they are.
And we don't want to lose that connection with people. That joy of discovery. That convenience of being able to have a group of people share a bunch of events laid out in front of them to find what they are doing.
Just last week I substituted for one of our delivery drivers, and twice in Old Town I interrupted someone reading the previous issue to hand them the new issue.
But at the same time, people don't walk into a bar, get bored and start looking for something to read much anymore. Mostly, they pick up their phones and start reading things there.
That has not killed us —our distribution numbers are down from where they were 10 years ago, but only 10 percent or so. No, the thing that is making this far harder in this day and age is advertiser confidence. People believe that print is dead, so it is dead. Thousands of weekly readers will disagree, I'm sure.
But the economic reality is that if we can't convince advertisers to pay for it, then we can't afford to print it.
At the same time, we still believe in print. We know its power. And it is far cheaper for us to print a monthly issue than it is to try to run an advertising campaign through multiple mediums just to keep ourselves on the forefront of peoples' minds.
So, we're going to try to make online into a thing. We've got some work to do, and we're going to spend June working on it. Our next print issue will be July 30, just in time for Final Friday. But in the meantime, we'll be doing what we do online every week. Or day.