Reversing the trend: NKY Tribune adds a print component to its online presence

By Judy Clabes, NKyTribune editor

What started as a discussion among community leaders about the region’s needs grew into an idea for a print component for the NKyTribune. Enter the notion that if the Trib Team committed to it, the print edition would have to go to everyone in Northern Kentucky.

One good thing lead to another, so today 160,206 copies of the first print edition of the NKyTribune are being delivered by 23 post offices in three counties through over 340 postal routes into every mailbox in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. We were definitely NOT going to throw it into driveways.

Whether there is a next one is entirely up to our readers.

There is no question that this massive undertaking would not have been possible without the support of a committed group of advertisers who were willing to help pay the freight so that the publication could make its way into every mailbox. The postage alone was five figures. Printing was another five figures, though much lower than the first five. And none of that counts the people it took to put it together.

Pay attention to those sponsors and thank them for making it possible.

There’s a reason print newspapers are having a tough time. There’s a reason the NKyTribune is a nonprofit — and is leading the way in the growing nonprofit online newspaper world. We actually believe news is important, that the sharing of honest news is the glue that holds citizens together and public servants accountable, that creates good citizens — and good governance. We love Marshall McLuhan’s idea of the “tribal fire” role that newspapers play in bringing communities together in a democracy.

None of these things are easy — they are just necessary.

When we started on this journey five years ago, we were committed to giving the regional community its newspaper back, albeit online. That we could do, keeping our heads down and our ears open, sweating blood and working hard because we cared enough to work hard enough to make it happen. And we have been lucky enough to have good corporate citizens and foundations to provide support along the way.

It cannot be left unsaid that my undying gratitude goes to especially to two indispensable Team Trib colleagues Jacob Clabes and Mark Hansel. Their passion, dedication and just plain ol’ hard work is evidenced in every single word of the NKyTribune. Ink in the blood, for sure, and steel in the spine and hope in their hearts — all the right stuff for achieving the impossible.

We have dedicated this edition to our late colleague Mike Farrell who cheered us on but who, unfortunately, did not live to see the dream come true.

But if this newspaper is going to thrive and grow and expand its coverage the way we should, readers are going to have to step up too. Some already do. But, just think, if everyone who receives the print edition of the Trib today took responsibility for making just a small tax-deductible donation — claiming the nonprofit newspaper as the community asset it is — we’d be too busy growing and improving to worry about sustainability.

You’ll find that the printed NKyTribune is just a sampler of the online content. There are lots of “briefs” and some major stories you should know about — plus a two-page spread on the upcoming election (Nov. 5) with short bios on the candidates for the state’s constitutional offices. You’ll find out that you have until October 7 to register to vote and that you can do that entirely online at (and you should). You are a citizen of this country, after all, and you have a responsibility.

We aren’t perfect and never will be. We’ll always be aiming for better and more. That’s the best promise we can make to you — and, really, the most you can ask.

I must tell you when I found my way to Josh Guthrie at the Cynthiana printing plant of Landmark’s weekly Democrat, it was a good day. Kindred spirits, we were. I believe he has ink for blood — and he knows printing, cares about quality and quickly figured out the intricacies of the largest single press run he and his team have ever done. Not to mention the logistics involved in getting it to the post offices in good order.

He was masterful at getting Team Trib up to speed on form and format and guiding us through the pre-press processes.

Standing in the press room as the presses started to roll, smelling the ink, watching Guthrie’s team work the settings to get the ink flowing just right and the colors adjusted to perfection . . . well, that brought back memories. This team was excited about their work and took pride in it.

They’re ready to do the next one. And so are we. Should we? And are you going to help make it possible?

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