In just three weeks, the Tribune, as current subscribers have known it, will become yesterday's news.
Sunday, Jan. 4 will mark the Trib's last day as a seven-day-a-week print daily. The newspaper will continue to publish stories seven days a week on eastvalleytribune.com.
In print, however, the Tribune will become a four-day-a-week, two-section locally focused newspaper that will be delivered free of charge in driveways in selected areas. There will be no paid home delivery - anywhere.
If you don't live in one of the areas selected for free delivery, you can always read the Tribune at eastvalleytribune.com or you can pick it up at selected locations, such as Circle Ks in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek and Apache Junction. The Tribune will no longer be distributed in Scottsdale and Tempe.
For those subscribers living in areas where the Tribune will no longer be delivered at homes, we want to thank you for being our loyal readers and constructive critics over the years.
If you don't live in one of our free distribution areas, we hope to see you at eastvalleytribune.com.
Subscribers will be getting a letter next week explaining their options for subscription balances. They are entitled to a refund of their balance. But we also hope you will consider another option.
In these hard times, it is especially tough for area charities. (See related story.) So if you wish, we can send your refund to the Mesa United Way or Valley of the Sun United Way, depending on where you live.
All of this will be explained in the letter from publisher Julie Moreno.
We told readers about the coming changes to the Tribune in early October, but some of you might have missed the story and wonder what this is all about.
The short answer is that this dreadful economy along with the impact the Internet has had on classified advertising and the tight credit market have taken a toll in the newspaper industry.
So much so that the owners of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times just a few days ago entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (The Chicago Tribune is not connected to the East Valley Tribune.)
The Rocky Mountain News in Denver will likely close down in three months if its owner can't find a buyer. Gannett, which owns The Arizona Republic, just slashed 2,000 jobs. The list goes on.
The East Valley Tribune's response to these harsh business conditions was developed under publisher Julie Moreno and has drawn national industry interest, including in a column in the Dec. 6 Wall Street Journal.
The Tribune will tighten local focus on four East Valley cities. So much so that the East Valley Tribune will be retitled into four separate editions: the Mesa Tribune, Gilbert Tribune, Queen Creek Tribune and Chandler Tribune.
Our print editions will come out on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and be delivered in selected neighborhoods in those communities.
Going to print four days a week saves us on the high costs of newsprint and delivery expenses. Our newly defined delivery areas also will save us in distribution and payroll costs. For the eco-minded, this plan also saves a lot of trees.
The transformed Tribune will consist of two sections. As the "local news is first" newspaper, the A section won't look much different than it does today. It will start with local news and include state, national and international news along with our editorial pages.
The second section will consist of sports and entertainment news with a local focus.
As I mentioned earlier, readers of printed editions can keep up with local news on our non-print days by connecting to eastvalleytribune.com.
Over the past several weeks, we've been revamping the newsroom and reshaping our advertising department. Come Jan. 7, we'll be publishing a transformed Tribune. What won't change will be our dedication to our customers and communities.
Jim Ripley, executive editor