Although we use soy-based ink, recycled paper and encourage everyone to recycle their copy of the Maui Weekly, we acknowledge that there is more that we can do to increase our sustainability and environmental stewardship while maintaining the bottom line to provide the Maui community with cutting-edge local news. As many newspapers have found, the solution is not simple and involves several factors.
Factor one: According to our own modest research and that of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, no topic in technology attracted more attention last year than the rise of social media and its potential impact on news.
But overall, the report confirms that Facebook and Twitter serve as pathways to news rather than replacements for traditional news sources. Another finding is that, contrary to what some observers have argued, the rise of social media recommendations doesn't come at the expense of readers going directly to news sites or searching for news topics of interest to them.
We acknowledge the increase in online traffic, which is evidenced in our 4,000 Website visitors per week (a 100 percent increase over last year's stats), which, in part, was driven by the Weekly's 1,500 Facebook connections and 800 Twitter followers.
Another factor to consider is the migration to digital news, which advanced to new levels in the last year. A growing body of data suggests that the move toward mobile and multi-digital devices is actually increasing the amount of overall news being consumed.
While the desktop or laptop computer remains the primary digital platform for news, the number of consumers who get news on multiple digital devices is growing, including digital mavens who use any combination of desktop/laptop computers, smartphones and tablets. Again, digital devices appear to be an additive experience for news providers.
The data also finds that the reputation or brand of a news organization is the most important factor in determining where consumers go for news, no matter the device. The most common way that people get news is by going directly to a trusted news organization's Website or mobile app.
At the Maui Weekly, we don't want to merely keep pace with the times--we want to be positioned at the forefront of the technology that our akamai readers use and increase our relevance to a population that is growing in sophistication in the digital age, while still satisfying the needs of a tried-and-true print-based readership.
How do we crack that code? It's a constant conundrum for most newspapers still in business. Our new formula is to increase our online presence and offset it with a slight reduction in hard copies and the discontinuation of our free mailing service to South Maui.
To balance the equation, we are expanding our coverage on Maui by increasing the number of locations where you can pick up the paper. And although we already experience an active social media life, we are increasing our online presence on Facebook and Twitter to more quickly direct you to breaking news, events, features and entertainment at www.mauiweekly.com and our mobile app, mobile.mauiweekly.com.
Our goal is to provide you faster news service while eliminating the high cost of snail mailing. Our Website and mobile app now go live on Wednesday night at midnight. Hard copies are delivered to newsstands throughout the island Wednesday through Friday.
You will find a list of over 100 distribution points for our South Maui edition and nearly that many for our Central Maui/Upcountry edition at www.mauiweekly.com, on page 11 and in following issues.
We want to be where you are, whether that's via digital tablet, smartphone, computer, laptop, or where you shop, eat, drink and play.
Pick up a copy next week at one of our over 200 convenient locations near you.
If you have suggestions for drop points for the Maui Weekly, please call our distributor, Noe Kauha'aha'a at 276-9968.