The Sumter Item announced changes to its print delivery schedule last weekend, effective March 2. The changes include consolidating printing and delivery of the newspaper to Wednesday and Saturday, while also adding a cost-free monthly newspaper called The Item Impact, which will be mailed to 28,000 households in Sumter County.
We have heard from many of you with questions and notes of support. As we continue to prepare for the transition, here are some top questions we clarified this week.
Q: What papers will I get?
A: Print subscribers will receive The Sumter Item on Wednesday and Saturday. Those papers will be larger than each daily paper is currently. Papers will be mailed.
Print subscribers all have access to www.theitem.com, where news will continue to be posted daily as it comes in. Digital-only subscribers will likely see no change to their user experience. If anything, their experience will improve because the new Item Impact will be available to read online as an e-edition and individual articles at no charge.
Regardless of your subscription status, households within a 28,000-household radius of our office in downtown Sumter will receive The Item Impact via direct mail. This includes businesses in that area, too. If you live or work outside that route, some racks will be filled with the monthly newspapers - which will publish the third Friday of the month - and there will be plenty available at our office, 36 W. Liberty St., available for free pickup.
Q: I'm a print subscriber. Will my subscription cost go down?
A: The short answer is we're currently not looking to change or refund rates, but here's also the long answer because there was a lot of thought behind every change we're making.
While the frequency of the print delivery will change, the quantity and quality of the journalism and local news you get will not. We are making these changes so we can maintain our staffing levels of journalists, and they'll still be publishing articles every day. They'll be posted online daily as the news comes in, and we'll send links out in The Sumter Daily Item Newsletter the same as we do now.
The printed papers on Wednesday and Saturday will be larger than they are now, so you actually won't be getting less; it will just be consolidated into two robust papers.
Q: What about obituaries?
A: Obituaries continue to be one of the most engaged topics of information with our readership, and we understand the commemorative treasure a printed obituary is for family and friends who have lost a loved one.
We will continue to print every obituary that is submitted by local funeral homes to The Sumter Item. The change in printing schedule gives at most 24 more hours between printing than we currently have - currently Saturday-Tuesday, soon to be Saturday-Wednesday, so we're confident that the vast majority of families will not be impacted by this schedule.
Obituaries will continue to be posted online at www.theitem.com daily as they are processed and be included in The Sumter Daily Item Newsletter.
Across every department at The Item, we are thankful for our subscribers, advertisers, readers and the community we serve. We couldn't do this without you.
While change can be hard and will never be ideal for everybody, we're confident these changes are being made in the best interest of the community we serve at heart. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (803) 774-1200 ext. 1.
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