In Rockdale, Texas, about an hour’s drive northeast of the state capital city Austin, the Cooke family has owned The Rockdale Reporter since June 1, 1911. This award-winning community newspaper, established in 1893, technically is a Thursday publication. My write-up about my trip to The Rockdale Reporter was featured in “Wednesday’s Headlines,” a new, and very smart, offering from Bob Ramsak, a reporter, photographer, and blogger at http://www.pirancafe.com:
Every Wednesday, around noon, a truck delivers thousands of copies of The Rockdale Reporter straight to the newspaper building’s back door from nearby Bryan in Central Texas. Fresh off the presses of The Eagle newspaper in Bryan, where it is printed, The Rockdale Reporter is immediately readied for same-day delivery to a variety of locations within a 30-mile radius.
On Wednesday, January 20, 2016, a truck delivered 4,830 copies of The Rockdale Reporter to the newspaper. While Production Manager Shannon Whorton prepared 2,000 newspapers for mailing, labeling the papers with an electric dispenser and tossing them into plastic tubs that co-worker Cliff Dungan carried to a van, the rest of the newspapers were delivered by regular drivers for same-day readership.
Dungan, who would eventually fill the newspaper van with almost 20 tubs, jokes that it takes more gas to start the van than it does to drive it to the loading dock of the post office next door.
But week after week, driven delivery to the post office is necessary: With a circulation of almost 5,000, The Rockdale Reporter is reaching a lot of readers throughout Central Texas. The newspaper’s staff boots-on-the-ground reporting gives readers the vibrant journalism so necessary for the health of any town or city.
So essentially — save for the 2,000 newspapers scheduled for Thursday mail delivery — The Rockdale Reporter is a Wednesday paper. Sure enough, about an hour after the delivery truck left, people were showing up at the newspaper’s front door, plunking coins into the old-fashioned newspaper rack and getting their weekly, Wednesday, journalism fix.