Rutberg: Letter from the President: A user's manual for your Berkshire Eagle

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I am writing on July 1, the first day of our company's fiscal year. Looking back always accompanies the plans for the future.

January, the first month of the calendar year, is associated with Janus, the Roman god who is often depicted with faces looking both to the future and the past. A year ago, who could have imagined the events that have changed our lives so dramatically? I can report that everyone at the Manchester Journal and its sister papers have been deeply engaged in shaping the future vision for our company. It is an ongoing project, as we like so many others, labor to build the car as we drive it.

On the evening of June 28, we hit a speed bump that was not related to current events. An innocent error went undetected through a series of other mistakes that resulted in the June 29 edition of the Berkshire Eagle, the Journal's sister paper, being printed with four pages missing.

Personally, I was upset that the last page of the A section in my paper was the editorial page. The paper seemed skimpy. But it was very early in the morning when I read my Eagle, so I just went to the office with a bit of an edge.

Every day, I enter the newsroom and ask our customer service reps how that day's delivery had been. On that Monday, I was told we had a problem before I had a chance to ask. I knew it must be serious. The good news was that the "missing pages" had been included in our electronic edition, so those readers who called or emailed were shown a way to finish reading Page 1 articles that jumped to Page 8.

When I cooled down, I realized how valuable the e-edition is and how much of its value is unknown to our readers. We had lemons of our own making, but we are determined to make tasty lemonade with them. My resolution for this new year is to publish a series of articles and house ads about our products, including the e-edition, which to those who aren't familiar is the digital replica of the printed newspaper one can access from a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone. I want us to create a user's manual for The Eagle and the Manchester Journal.

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Like Janus, the need for a user's manual is a double image. When Kelton Miller published the first edition of The Eagle in 1892, no instructions were needed, as long as you could read. Today, with print paper, e-edition, website, TheBEAT and TheEAT email newsletters, some instruction may be useful, especially for the technologically challenged — like me.

When people tell me that they read the Journal online, I ask, "Do you read the website or the e-edition?" Often, my question goes unanswered, as they repeat, "I read it online." For the uninitiated, the e-edition is a replica of the printed newspaper that you can access on your desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.

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On your desktop computer, you can log on to the e-edition by clicking on the "E-Edition" link that appears on the top-right corner of our website at manchesterjournal.com. The first time you go to the e-edition, you will be asked to open an account with a username and password. There is no cost for this product so we will not be asking for credit card information.

If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can download our e-edition app by searching "Manchester Journal" in Apple's App Store or in Google Play.

If my directions seem confusing, call our customer service department at 1-800-254-0254 and speak to any one of our representatives and they will gladly walk you through the process in minutes.

You can also visit the website to access the e-edition or bookmark The Journal's e-edition itself, https://manchesterjournal-vt.newsmemory.com/.

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The e-edition also has features of which many folks are unaware. You can have the paper translated into up to 11 different languages. You share, download or print an article by clicking an icon at the top of a page. You can also change the size of the type by clicking another icon at the top of an article. If an article "jumps" from one page to another, it is connected on the e-edition.

If you are like me, you may still prefer to read the print paper. It feels good to have in your hand, and it is so much easier to put it down, pick it up and take it with you. But, it is important to know what the e-edition can do and how to do it. Equally, it is valuable to know how our website works as well as our newsletters. So, we will be making a concerted effort to spell things out in print, online and through videos to be helpful.

Since 1861, the Manchester Journal has been committed to providing its readers with excellent journalism. That commitment has not changed, but in the last 20 years, the ways through which we can provide quality journalism have expanded greatly, and we want to help our readers remain up to date and informed. Over the next few months, look for more articles and ads that will provide helpful hints and useful information as we present our user manual.

In the meantime, please keep reading the Journal — in print or online — and supporting quality local journalism. It matters.

Fredric D. Rutberg is publisher and a co-owner of the Manchester Journal. He can be reached at frutberg@berkshireeagle.com.


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