New location for the Tioga Tribune

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Posted 2/27/18 (Tue)

Whines & Roses
By Cecile Wehrman

(This is from a longer address to the Tioga City Commission last week.)
The purpose of my appearance tonight is to give you an update on the status of the continued publication of the Tioga Tribune. At the time I requested inclusion on your agenda, the future looked very uncertain.
Having announced needed cutbacks to address falling revenue, I lost the two employees I had. It appeared we had no choice but to rapidly move toward a consolidation of the Tioga Tribune and The Journal. Now that is looking like a longer-term prospect -- both due to my ability to get new employees in place much faster than I’d anticipated and finding less expensive office space.
The reality is that combining newspapers, while it would solve some problems, could create others, so it’s going to take more time to explore the feasiblity of such a move. It could yet happen and it could be a positive, longterm.
Why is this important to the city? It’s important because the city publishes its meeting minutes and public notices in the official city newspaper. The Tribune is that designated publication. It’s also highly important to the newspaper, because it would be difficult for any community newspaper to adequately serve the community without the revenue generated by public notices. While the state doesn’t require publication of notices and minutes as a way of subsidizing local news coverage, the fact is, public revenue goes a long way toward keeping newspapers viable in small towns.
My original intention in appearing before you tonight was to make a pitch that you agree to keep publishing public notices with Journal Publishing, Inc., following a potential combination of the newspapers. 
In my examination of the Century Code relating to official newspapers, I could find no reason you could not choose to print your notices in any publication generally circulated in the municipality -- as The Journal would be, because we’d be sending it to the 1,400 current subscribers of the Tioga Tribune. If, at some point, subscriptions fell below a point considered “widely circulated” you’d likely have to look at other options, such as the Williston Herald, for your required publications.
At this point, however, it would be premature for me to ask for a commitment like that. 
It is my hope that, based on the cost savings we’ve implemented and new staff coming on board, we can keep the Tribune as a standalone entity for the foreseeable future, though we’re doing a number of things to combine pages and streamline work so we can share more content between the two papers, with fewer employees needed to produce them. It’s likely that, without my calling attention to it, few people would even notice anything about the newspaper has changed. For now, we’re moving forward to keep the newspapers separate.
While there may be times in the future when our doors in Tioga are not open, we’ll always have contact with customers, either by phone or by emails, through staff in Crosby.
Regular hours in Tioga, moving forward, will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Thursday.
(The Tribune is now located at 15, 1st Street NE, next door to the Tioga Theater and across from the Police Department.)