“And you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times they are a-changin’.” These words by Bob Dylan are possibly even more true today than they were in 1964.
In a groundbreaking announcement that will reverberate through the community, the West Plains Daily Quill is boldly reimagining its role in the digital era. A landmark change will soon redefine the newspaper's print and digital offerings, infusing new life into a cherished institution that has informed and connected West Plains for over a century.
Beginning July 29, the Quill will publish its print edition twice a week, every Wednesday and Saturday, while expanding its digital offering to cover the rest of the week, including a newly added e-Edition on Mondays. It’s worth repeating, the Quill will continue to produce a newspaper six days per week, but four of them will be e-Edition only.
This strategy is reflective of a larger shift as many local newspapers nationwide adapt to changing times, and is a symbol of invigorating evolution, rather than of decline.
With the shift to a primarily e-Edition format, this will allow the Quill to return to being an evening edition newspaper, with news published the day it happens.
"We're not shrinking. We're growing and transforming, keeping pace with the dynamic, digital world," said Quill General Manager Chris Herbolsheimer. "This move allows us to generate even more content for our readers, delivering today's news today, in a way that matches their evolving preferences."
In line with this transformative shift, the Quill plans to unveil a revamped website that will offer readers a contemporary, user-friendly experience with enhanced navigation and immersive content.
Not only will the evening e-Edition provide the news faster to readers, but breaking news stories will be added to the Quill’s website as soon as they are completed.
“What I love about these changes that are happening is that our readers aren’t going to lose the coverage they’ve come to expect from us. We are going to be able to offer even more of the important local news in an improved format that really emphasizes and celebrates local community,” said Managing Editor Abby Hess. “I like to think of the West Plains Daily Quill as a newspaper of the people — the content within is by locals, for locals and about locals, and our readers will have an even better opportunity to engage with the news they care about.”
The Quill's physical Wednesday edition will consolidate all special pages that typically appear throughout the week, along with news stories from the e-Editions. This ensures that print-only readers remain informed and connected to their community, regardless of their preference for a physical paper.
But the revolution doesn't stop there. The Saturday edition is set for a makeover, reincarnating as the West Plains Gazette, a nostalgic nod to the beloved 1980s magazine curated by Russ Cochran. Each Gazette issue will feature stories reminiscent of the classic style that won readers' hearts decades ago, and will include a story from the original West Plains Gazette archives.
"This rebirth of the Gazette is a testament to our storied past and our promising future," Herbolsheimer expressed. "The West Plains Daily Quill has served this community for 138 years, and we're ready to uphold this legacy for the next 138 and beyond."
As the Quill reinvents itself for the digital age, it promises to deliver the quantity and quality of all-local news that its readers deserve, ensuring that its commitment to robust, community-oriented journalism remains undeterred.
These sweeping changes are more than a shift in publication schedule; they represent the Quill's tenacious spirit to adapt and innovate. This isn't just a pivot toward the digital; it's a powerful assertion that local journalism can flourish in the 21st century.
This visionary move by the Quill underscores that, while ink and paper may change, the essence of journalism – steadfast reporting, storytelling and community service – transcends the medium.
As the Quill steps into its next chapter, it continues to shape the story of West Plains, one headline at a time.