What goes around

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’ve recently been writing about the behind the scenes stuff that keeps the Reno News & Review ticking when time has run out for so many other publications in this market.

Karen Brooke heads up distribution with the assistance of Meleva Hill, and they’re responsible to see that these timeless crimes against literature make it into your hands every week. They track returns and trends and audit routes to make sure the delivery drivers are getting where they’re supposed to get when they’re supposed to get there. And by the way, we’d be screwed without our delivery drivers—Lisa Ackerman, Sandra Chhina, Terri Hanks, Joe Medeiros, John Miller, Ron Neill, Carol Peterson, Tabitha Pike, Martin Troye, Warren Tucker and Carol Veach—they are the smiling and professional faces of the RN&R for many people in this community.

Distribution is a dance in much the same way content, design and sales are intricate dances in this newsprint ballet. It’s all about efficiency.

There are a couple of aspects to this formula. First, each of those racks you see around Northern Nevada has a cost. Karen has to ensure, with input from general manager John Murphy, that the most papers are getting out for the lowest cost. We’ve got some racks where hundreds of papers are distributed every week. We had some where less than 10 were distributed. When we needed to cut costs, we got rid of those less productive spots and increased the number of bigger drops.

Every week, we know how many issues are dropped off, how many are picked up, and how many come back after a week. We noticed some time ago that we were getting too many “zero returns,” and we increased our print run and the number of papers we distributed. We’re about to do that again, and not just that, but we have to increase the number of drop off points. That tells us that, somehow, our readership keeps going up and up.

And that’s a nice feeling to carry into the new year.