Publisher's View: Deliver
Steven J. Moss
Forty-three years ago the Potrero View was launched as a mimeographed newsletter under the title Hills and Dales. The missive was circulated by hand among the community’s population, mostly first or second generation Americans from Eastern Europe, Italy, and Portugal, as well as African-Americans. Soon, the newsletter became a newspaper, with bundles dropped off and distributed at Farley’s, Goat Hill Pizza, The Good Life Grocery, among other places. It wasn’t until after the turn of the last century that the View added boxes to its circulation network, as well as a modest list of paid home subscribers.
While the View has always been a step behind the times in terms of its delivery methods — we added a searchable website less than a decade ago — the paper has continually maintained a fresh relationship with its readers. On the first of the month, when the View hits the streets, Dogpatch and Potrero Hill residents can be seen clutching their latest copy, snatched up at their favorite store or restaurant. Not a week goes by that we don’t hear from someone about how much they “love” the View. Not like, or even respect, but love. It’s a bond forged by a particular place and through the interaction between our readers and the stories we tell about our neighborhood, made physical by the rustle of newsprint between fingers.
Like all relationships, though, things can go stale. People change, and so has the community the View serves. The shipwrights, factory workers, and artists that built Dogpatch and the Hill more than a half century ago are fading into history, replaced by a burgeoning population of financial, medical, and technology professionals. Many of these new residents interact with the neighborhood less than those who came before them; too busy commuting to work and transporting their kids to school to spend an idle hour at Thinker’s CafО, or nurse a beer at The Connecticut Yankee. Some, no longer used to picking up any newspaper, have yet to develop a relationship with the View.
And that’s why we’ve decided it’s time to freshen things up. Starting with the September issue, the View is shifting to door-to-door delivery to 9,000 residences in Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and what’s being called “MishPot,” the area between Highway 101 and South Van Ness Avenue. Like a suitor bringing flowers to their intended’s doorstep, we’re not going to wait for our readers — new and old alike — to come to us. We’re going to go to them, with a hand-delivered fresh paper on the second or third of each month. At the same time, we’ll continue to distribute from a limited number of boxes and establishments, including ones located in Bayview, South-of-Market, and Visitacion Valley. This new approach will help the View increase its readership by one-third, giving access to news, information, and local advertisements to a whole new crop of community members.
Our new distribution model is more expensive. Which is why we’ve launched a supporters’ page, enabling enterprises to make a modest monetary contribution to the paper while being acknowledged for their support. Readers can similarly help, by using our classified section to give a shout-out to friends, publish short poems, or note an important anniversary or event. And if you know of a place that should be retained as a distribution point — or a story that needs to be told — please let us know.
Our readers love the View because the View loves our community. Every neighborhood deserves a newspaper. The View is yours.
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