I doubt there is a need for me to dedicate a lot of space to the remembrance of 2020 – a year many of us are unlikely to forget – so let’s focus on what lies ahead.
We’re less than a month from starting a new year and new beginnings.
Throughout my nearly 20-plus-year career as a journalist – a tour of duty that has taken me from weekly newspapers to dailies, from the obituaries column to the news desk, and eventually to the trucking industry – I have always written for a printed product.
The moment readers lay down the December 2020 edition of CCJ, that print streak ends, and my new beginning begins. This was the final printed edition of Commercial Carrier Journal.
Sunsetting a product that began publishing the same year crews broke ground on Fenway Park, the storied home of the Boston Red Sox, was not a decision made hastily or lightly. In fact, it was quite the opposite: a measured and informed decision several years in the making.
Our readers have consistently displayed a preference for having their trucking news delivered digitally — namely, via CCJ’s email newsletters and here on our website, ccjdigital.com.
In our most recent connectivity survey, which was conducted late this summer, email newsletters and websites were cited as CCJ readers’ two most frequently used sources to find information about the trucking industry.
I came into this business at the turn of the millennium when most media companies saw their website as a necessary evil — a digital place to dump articles well after they’d published in print, almost as punishment for the people who dared read online versus visiting a newsstand. Or, worse yet, a place to stash content not good enough to run on printed pages.
That’s never been the case here. CCJ’s website has long been complementary to its print edition, serving as a daily real-time news companion to a monthly hard copy.
Rigid print, production and mail distribution cycles can stretch several weeks, which made ccjdigital.com the premier place for trucking’s breaking news. But it was also the home of the rich in-depth features that filled print editions.
Over time, the world’s taste for news went full Veruca Salt – “I want it now” – and websites and newsletters have become the most efficient way to deliver Wonka’s golden goose. Not bound by the confines of page count and available space online, we were able to deliver more of them more often.
Our full migration to digitally delivered news allows us more flexibility and resources to provide all the news you’ve grown accustomed to reading, and it unlocks a lot of time to do more of it, along with the ability to produce it in other forms such as podcasts and webcasts — multimedia our readers have consistently told us they want. We also are investing heavily in redesigns of our newsletters and websites beginning next year and will launch several new topic-specific newsletters.
I’m an old soul. I’ve long told myself that I prefer the feel of a real newspaper or magazine in my hands, but if you asked me when was the last time I bought a copy of my hometown newspaper, The Birmingham News, I couldn’t tell you. It’s been many years.
How often do I read their website? I check it multiple times daily.
If yours has not yet taken place, I expect your full digital migration will be just as seamless as mine. That you’re reading this column online, you’ve already got a head start.
If you’ve not yet subscribed to CCJ’s newsletter, I hope this will prompt you to do so. Simply look near the top of this page. There’s a signup box to the right.
CCJ’s nearly 110-year print publication run (more than 1,300 editions) is pretty remarkable and is a testament to generations of journalists who have etched their names in this space and their dedication to excellence. That commitment carries forward with us into 2021 and beyond, even if the print product won’t.