The Eagle always wants to hear from you, but especially now. As we work toward our goal to create the finest community newspaper in America, we would like to learn your thoughts and expectations. So, I am asking you to take a few minutes to tell us what you think by completing a survey that you can find at BerkEagleSurvey.com.
Three months have passed since my colleagues and I purchased New England Newspapers Inc., and I want to update you on what has transpired as well as our plans for the immediate future. I can assure you that the ownership, management and staff are completely devoted to making The Berkshire Eagle the finest community newspaper in America. Part of reaching that goal is making the paper and website more responsive to our audience, hence the survey.
While you may have noticed some changes in the content and the style of the publications, the real changes have been below the surface. We have returned several parts of our business, including bookkeeping, classified advertisements and page composition, that had been outsourced to other parts of the country by the previous owners. We are creating our own, standalone operating systems so we can produce our publications from start to finish in Pittsfield. Like a foundation repair to your home, these changes are vital, complex and expensive, but they are not obvious except to those in the know.
We have begun the process of redesigning the newspaper and the website. When we are finished you will notice changes to the content, look and feel of the newspaper and the website. To assist us, we engaged consultants who have managed the redesign of more than 500 newspapers worldwide. To make the redesign as successful as possible we would like to know what the public, including you, think about our publications. To that end, we have launched an online survey that is open to readers and non-readers alike. We have tried to keep the survey as simple and user-friendly as possible. I have taken it and can report that it can be completed in a few minutes. To further encourage you to take the survey at BerkEagleSurvey.com, there are two valuable prizes that will go to lucky entrants.
In my last letter, I invited everyone to offer thoughts and suggestions. I received scores of emails and many handwritten notes, and I have tried to answer all of them. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who took the time and made the effort to express their concerns for The Eagle and the website. You offered myriad complaints and suggestions, some of which have already been addressed, others of which are about to be addressed. What I said in May is still the case: if you see something in The Eagle (or on the website) that you like, tell all of your friends; if you see something you don't like, please tell me. I can be reached at The Berkshire Eagle or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fredric D. Rutberg, president of New England Newspapers Inc.