Serving the community since 1922

'We believe we have achieved our goal…'

Shafter-Wasco Publishing owner Stanley Wilson presented these remarks at Tuesday night’s Shafter City Council meeting.

My name is Stanley Wilson and I am one of the owners of Shafter-Wasco Publishing, publishers of The Shafter Press and Wasco Tribune.

As you know we had a proposed contract on the May 21st council agenda. I was sorry that I was not here to speak to the proposal. On ,May 16, I consulted the Shafter city website and found the notice that the May 21st meeting had been canceled. I visited the bulletin board outside City Hall chambers on May 20 and found the same notice. Neither notice indicated the meeting had been rescheduled to May 22, Our editor, Jamie Stewart, ran across the same notice and was not here last council meeting either. I assumed that all had been rescheduled to the June 4 meeting. I know that you were able to get the word out to a number of people due to the all the award recipients being here at the last session. After learning of the rescheduled meeting afterwards, I was able to watch the video posted of the council meeting May 22. The position of city management and the Council came through loud and clear – that you were not interested in our proposal.

We had hoped that the proposal would initiate some discussion of how we could help the city publish information on a regular basis. This proposal could have been mutually beneficial to both the city and The Press.

I would like to remind the Council that when the Reed Family closed The Shafter Press in December of 2017, it was city management and the mayor who initiated discussion on how to save and continue the paper. Several of your community members stepped up to the plate. Under no circumstance was the investment in the local paper ever considered to be one which would return profits. Instead it was an philanthropic effort to preserve for the Shafter community a newspaper that would reflect what was going on in the Shafter community, not only regarding city government, but to further the sense of community with articles on schools, sports, clubs, businesses and the people of Shafter.

Even though covid caused us to combine The Shafter Press with the Wasco Tribune, we believe we have achieved our goal, doing the best we could with a very limited budget.

There are about 1,400 papers picked up throughout town each week. If one figures two readers per paper, that is 2,800 readers, not counting the papers read and shared in the barbershops and restaurants. In addition, we are sending out 200 paid mail subscriptions, and there are an average of 1,000 visitors to our website per week. Altogether, we estimate we are reaching approximately 5,000 of your citizens each week. Many of these readers are not using social media to get their information. Our medium is not instant, but for the most part it doesn’t have to be. We give advance notice of things to come and review things that have already happened, as well as presenting stories about our local people and businesses.

There is seldom a week goes by that I do not receive a comment regarding articles in the paper. Many people have expressed appreciation to me that we have continued to keep the paper going. However, the business community has not kept up in the use of the paper for local advertising. It was for this reason that we offered a contract with the city. It has become more and more difficult to support continued operation of the paper with limited revenue.

Thank you for allowing me share my comments.

 

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