If you’re a regular reader of The Charlotte Observer “newspaper,” odds are that you don’t read it on paper at all.
That’s because more than two-thirds of our readers now experience The Charlotte Observer as it appears in one of its digital editions – phone, tablet or desktop.
Here are the statistics on that. Every month, more than 900,000 people read the Observer on paper, but 3.4 million read it digitally. And the digital audience continues to grow as more readers trade at least some actual paper for screens.
Not that we aren’t proud of our legacy as a news “paper.” It makes us the longest-running medium in our region. The very first edition of the Observer, in fact, appeared in 1885 as four pages of newsprint. It quickly grew, and since that time it has maintained the largest local audience in the region.
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But it has never really been about paper. As our readership growth through digital products attests, it has always been about compelling content, delivered to readers in the ways they want to experience it.
That’s why the Observer is now a multimedia company, as comfortable communicating with you through video, social media and blog posts as it is through a printed edition delivered to your home.
Take our newsroom. Its staff of more than 150 journalists and correspondents works each day to capture the news you need, regardless of format. Reporters shoot video and post news as they confirm it. You can literally watch a news story develop, minute by minute. The next day, print readers get the best of that breaking news in smart summaries, plus analysis of what it all means.
Similarly, the Observer’s Advertising Division has trained its sales executives to be multimedia specialists. Advertisers increasingly need digital solutions. More than 30 percent of the Observer’s advertising revenue is now digital, and that business is growing at a rate of 10 percent or more annually.
Even the division we once called Circulation has a new name to reflect the changing nature of our business: Audience Development. Its staff is now focused on building audiences across all formats.
By being here, you’ve obviously discovered one of those formats. We presently have five in all:
1. Our website, charlotteobserver.com, is the most popular local news site in North and South Carolina. It is also one of the country’s longest-running websites, first posting news there in 1996. We’ve updated its design multiple times over the past 19 years, most recently in July. The site now features a “responsive web design,” meaning it readjusts to fit whatever screen you are using, ranging from a desktop computer to a smartphone.
2. The Observer’s tablet edition is an app (Apple and Android) that is tailored to give you the most out of the tablet experience.
3. The E-edition is an electronic replica of the printed newspaper (pull down the “full menu” tab on our website and click on “Digital Edition”). You can call it up on your desktop or tablet and find the same content found in print, presented the same way. Readers who appreciate the structure of a printed edition enjoy this version, especially when traveling outside our region.
4. Our phone app (available for Apple and Android) was recently updated to make reading news and watching video much easier. We also have apps that focus exclusively on the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Hornets.
5. Last, but not least, is our daily print edition (to order, go to “full menu” tab on our website and click on “Customer Service”). We’ve redesigned the print edition to be just as vital in the digital age as it was when a phone came with a cord. For example, you’ll find more content that takes you beyond the headlines on TV and online, explaining the “how” and the “why” behind news developments. It’s still the perfect pairing with morning coffee or that lunch break. We also deliver community newspapers to most households in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, and in selected areas we distribute Lake Norman Magazine and South Park Magazine. Links to online versions of our print products can be found at charlotteobserver.com.
You can also choose to have the news find you. We offer breaking news alerts through email and text, as well as emailed newsletters with links to the top stories of the day in news, sports, business and entertainment. We also post regularly for our followers on Facebook and Twitter.
So, stay with us throughout the day in all the ways that are most convenient for you. And send us your story tips, ideas and suggestions, using a convenient form found on our website’s customer service page. We look forward to hearing from you.