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EDITORIAL: Does the Chronicle face death by postage?

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Before the days of e-mail, texts and tweets, we all anticipated the arrival of the daily mail. It was our lifeline of communication with our banks, our doctors and our loved ones.
The mail was a conduit of news that mattered to us.
Despite the advance of the digital age, for many of The Christian Chronicle’s 250,000 readers, the U.S. Postal Service remains the primary conduit for news that informs, inspires and unites. But the Chronicle recently received news from the Postal Service that is anything but good.
Postage is going up — way up — more than double what it has been. As of January, our monthly postage will no longer be $15,000 monthly but will rise to $31,100. Stunning!
That’s an additional $193,200 in postage alone for the coming year. For a ministry with an already strained, $1.1 million annual budget to cover production, mailing, salaries and other expenses, it represents a 17.6 percent overall increase to our operational expenses.
We have been told that we can appeal the postage increase but the appeal is not likely to succeed. We will appeal anyway. And of course we are already praying.
We will look for every possible way to save money and offset some of the additional expense. We will scan our budget carefully for every dollar that can be saved.
The Chronicle has faced a number of changes in postal regulations in the past 10 years. Some have forced alteration of the size of the paper and the addition of tabs — those bothersome little stickers that hold the pages together and add a lot to our costs.
We have had annual postage increases as well, but this coming increase is by far the largest.   
As the Postal Service seeks to find ways to save on its deficit, it is becoming more and more automated. With automation comes requirements that allow the paper to feed through sorting equipment at a staggering 16 per second. These new requirements include paper weight, location of the address plate, number of pages, overall weight, thickness and flexibility of the finished product.
The Chronicle could avoid the enormous postage increase by printing on stiffer paper, significantly limiting our space to 24 pages, making the paper smaller yet and continuing with those bothersome sticker tabs on the pages. The Chronicle board and staff do not think that is an appealing option. I agree.
Obviously, some of you will read this and respond, “Just go digital.” Though we are considering all the options, we are extremely hesitant to forfeit a significant portion of our readership, which remains loyal to the printed page.
This is clearly the greatest challenge and crisis the Chronicle has faced in my 16-plus years with it. The Lord has blessed us each of the several previous times when we were faced with changing requirements or financial increases.
We will continue to pray and discuss how we will meet this challenge. Next month, on this page, we will discuss possible solutions.
We welcome your input. Please e-mail [email protected] with your thoughts.
I believe God will again show us a way if we keep the Chronicle dedicated to his service. We ask each of you to pray fervently that the Lord will help the Chronicle maintain its level of coverage and service to you and the kingdom.

  • Feedback
    You can sign me up for email only. Thanks for the good job you do.
    Paul Covey
    Stockton, CA
    December, 15 2012

    I did not realize the Christian Chronicle was still being mailed. I hadn’t received one in four years. I have been keeping up via the e-mail I receive.
    Bill Walker
    Southside – Rogers
    Bentonville, AR
    December, 11 2012

    What about charging all of us a subscription price? I know that may take away some people but, those of us who want a paper copy would pay for it.
    Nancy Walker
    College Church of Christ
    Searcy, AR
    December, 10 2012

    You do not send good news. I sympatize with the challenge you face in your process of decision making. Whatever it is will likely mean change for you and your readers. While you don’t wish “digital” to be the complete answer, the world is changing and there are those who will, unaviodably, be left behind. If it comes to finding those who will accept digital, you can include me – I say as I grind my teeth! I find myself more and more trailing the pack on such things. I wish you success – including good luck.
    Bob McAfee
    Dallas, TX
    December, 10 2012

    Going digital does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Let readers volunteer to receive only the digital version. Those who need the printed version can continue to receive it, but your mailing and printing costs will decline greatly.
    Clark Coleman
    Rugby Avenue Church of Christ
    Charlottesville, VA
    December, 10 2012

    I am on your email list and really do not need the paper version as I have read the news already. Please remove me from the paper mailings. Perhaps email would be a lot better for many of your recipients and would sure save a lot of $.
    Sue Hardy
    Gulf Shores Church of Christ
    Gulf Shores, Al
    December, 10 2012

    Regarding the possibility of a new format to lower mailing costs- I think it’s time to go skinny. This problem will not go away; better to make adjustments now.
    Brett Young
    Houston, TX
    December, 10 2012

    Would like to know if there is a way to receive only the PDF copy of the print edition, instead of the mailed copy. Also if there is a way to e-mail me to notify that the next month’s edition has been posted to the website. Thanks!
    Ron Missildine
    Madison church of Christ
    Madison, Alabama
    November, 29 2012

Filed under: Editorial

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