Strictly Business: Business e-newsletter set to evolve

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor

Published:

 

How do your find the news that interests you?

A generation ago, that question would likely produce predictable answers. Radio. Television. Newspapers.

Today, we have thousands of digital and non-traditional options, from Facebook to Jon Stewart’s politically tinged comedy routines.

Local news sometimes gets lost in the chatter of that crowded marketplace. As the most thorough source of Clark County news, The Columbian has much to offer to those of us who live or work here. But we need to get your attention.

On the business desk, we’ve invested our time for many years in an e-newsletter called Business Today. Starting tomorrow, we’re making changes to that newsletter we hope will make it easier to keep up with local business news not available from any other source.

Business Today is one of 11 free e-newsletters that disseminate The Columbian’s news stories. Most offer short teasers of the day’s stories and links to columbian.com. The business newsletter is different. It aims to advance articles set to appear in the next day’s paper and on the website. It was one of our first e-newsletters and it has always been our most popular, with about 3,300 subscribers and the largest percentage of “opens” of any of our newsletters.

Producing that newsletter each workday is a surprisingly time-consuming task. The job of newsletter editor is a rotating position, shared by me, reporter Aaron Corvin and news assistant Pauline Sipponen. Gathering or producing short stories, photos, stock prices and a pithy “Quote of the Day” typically can takes a couple of hours out of the day.

In the communications business, we are inundated with e-newsletters of varying quality and topical interest. Most link to stories already published online or in print publications. Business Today’s tease of tomorrow’s news now seems outdated. The initial philosophy, I’m told, was to entice people to buy a paper. Our only link to our website, columbian.com, has been a highlight box with links to two stories published that day.

But times change. Recent research studies have concluded that e-newsletters with business content have more readers and offer more value when they arrive at the start of the workday. Morning delivery will offer another benefit to readers: we’ll provide links to local and national business stories already posted that day on columbian.com. Our Monday morning newsletter will link to weekend stories as well as highlights of the previous week’s business news.

Our single survey of Business Today readers, conducted back in 2010, found that readers want links to articles as well as quick hits of local and national news. But survey respondents also liked the newsletter’s “People” items that list new jobs, promotions or awards, as well as the “Quote of the Day.” Those features won’t go away. I, for one, am happy to continue finding a “Quote of the Day” that fits my mood at the moment or some event in the news.

We hope you like the changes. If you’re not a reader and want to keep up easily with the local business scene, I encourage you to sign up at columbian.com/newsletters. We’re here to keep you informed.