This is the definition of bittersweet.
I have very mixed emotions about this edition of the Augusta Gazette. Part of me worries about leaving a newspaper brand that has served this city so well for more than 100 years.
I have been proud to be a part of the last six years of that service as we wrote Augusta history one day at a time.
But the world is changing. Thanks to the internet and social media, I have been able to watch my best friend’s children grow up in both Singapore and Tulsa, OK.
The world is smaller and Butler County, Kan. is smaller too.
Just about 30 months ago, GateHouse Media allowed us to create a weekly newspaper in Andover to accompany those we already had in Augusta and El Dorado. Through these three newspapers, we have been able to cover Butler County residents as well as ever before.
But with three small newspapers come many challenges. Printing three smaller runs is much more expensive than printing one larger run. On print days, we had three editors all doing the exact same job in three locations. It was inefficient but we continued to do it as well as we could in order to serve our readers.
But when the idea of producing one newspaper for all of Butler County was first proposed, we began to see how much more we could accomplish with the same staff we already have.
That prospect is exciting.
All of our best products, Think Pink, Game Night, Readers Choice and others were already combined efforts between the three staffs.
We think each day’s news product will also benefit from that combined effort.
Not only will we have the same editors and reporters on the job, but we are adding to our list of contributors who will help us cover stories in towns like Douglass, Rose Hill and Towanda that we couldn’t do before.
The Butler County Times-Gazette will be a newspaper for all Butler County residents.
But even as we look to expand coverage across the entire county, we are keenly aware of the need to preserve the local identities of each town we serve. Headlines will all be labeled to identify which town is covered in the story below. Some calendars of events will be separated by town and all public records will be listed by the city where the activity occurred.
Looking back on what these newspapers have meant to the individual cities they served is nice. But I am equally excited about how much bigger and better the new product will be.
Page 2 of 2 - Ads will have more than twice the reach to help businesses thrive. Garage sale ads will cover the entire county. Help wanted ads will reach twice as many potential new hires.
In so many ways, this new venture will allow us to serve our readers and advertisers better. After a great deal of study, focus groups and research, The Butler County Times-Gazette became the obvious option that allows our newspapers to thrive in the future.
Thank you for your constant support of the Gazette. I hope you truly enjoy the new Butler County Times-Gazette when it comes to your porch for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times-Gazette. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com