A quote I read this week stuck with me.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
It’s funny what things resonate these days, isn’t it?
This particular quote, shared on social media by local counselor Beverly Bernzen with the message “keep adapting,” was accompanied by photos of the most amazing trees. Some had trunks that meandered in search of sunlight, leaving a crooked path toward the sky. One had roots that spanned a canyon. Trees sprung defiantly from the sides of cliffs and rooted up apartment building walls. One sprouted from a lone piece of driftwood in a clear, still pond.
They were the picture of resilience. That resilience is what we need to channel now as we adapt our lifestyles and our businesses to the change thrust upon us with the coronavirus shutdown.
I’ll admit change can be tough for me. The decision to change the publication cycle of this newspaper, announced on today’s front page, is the hardest I have had to make professionally in some time, if not ever. But it’s the right one, given the challenges of our time. The right decisions almost always are the hard ones, aren’t they?
As you read on our front page today, starting next weekend, The Facts is changing from its current seven-day print cycle to one in which we print newspapers five days a week and continue to provide news online at thefacts.com 365 days per year.
It is a change, like so many others lately, brought out of necessity, as the COVID-19 shutdown sucker-punched our economy and our newspaper’s main source of revenue — local advertising.
News gathering, production and delivery do not come cheap. For decades, The Facts has had people at work to bring you local news for about 20 hours out of every single day. It’s a near-round-the-clock operation we manage, of customer service, advertising sales and production, bookkeeping, news gathering, news page design, press work, mail room and delivery. It’s a punishing schedule most of our readers don’t think about when they walk out to pick their paper up from their yards in the morning, when people wonder why we ask them to pay to read our stories online or, worse, when strangers take pot shots against us from behind their keyboards on social media.
I balance my responsibility to those employees with our calling to bring you the news, not just today, but for decades to come.
We find ourselves in the most challenging of times, through no fault of our own, and changing our publication cycle will help us cut costs and save jobs.
This change, painful as it will be for some of us, will position us to serve Brazoria County for the long haul.
As business comes back for all of us, as we know it will, we will bulk up the offerings in those five days of print papers and continue to expand online coverage.
Make no mistake, we are not going anywhere. We will adapt, and we will thrive in this chaos and beyond.
This isn’t the first time this newspaper has adapted. Like those trees, our roots do not run straight, nor do our branches stretch uniformly.
The paper, founded in 1913 as the Freeport Facts, has changed ownership and names multiple times. From the Freeport Facts, to the Daily Facts-Review to the Brazosport Facts and now The Facts, the paper has, in its first 107 years, moved from Freeport to Clute, changed publication cycles, gone from an afternoon to a morning paper and outlasted hurricanes, floods and recession.
Our beloved paper will survive this, too.
Thank you for sticking with us. Thanks for the dozens of messages of support you have sent, commending our news staff for pushing through to provide you with the news that matters most to you — community news.