What I’m going to say in this column shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Times are tough in the newspaper business.

The Sylva Herald is not immune to these financial realities. You’re going to notice changes, and perhaps hear something about them, as we work to match revenues to expenditures.

We demand local government be as transparent as possible. I believe we should do the same.

But, before I do that, let me say this: Our commitment to serving this community is unwavering. Our commitment to excellence is unwavering. Our determination to cover the news without fear or favor – that doesn’t change.

And let me say this: I strongly urge this community to support your hometown newspaper by buying subscriptions and, for those in business, advertising in our pages.

Readership is up. But, we’ve seen a huge shift in advertising to the billboards. (Pointing out the obvious, billboards don’t publicize the community’s news. We do.)

In the newspaper business, there are two main expenses: newsprint and people.

Here’s some of what we are doing to cut costs.

First, with Publisher Steve Gray’s help, we are undergoing restructuring. I have moved from editor to general manager. My job is to evaluate what we do and how we do it. I’m a news person, always will be, so I’m not dropping out of sight. I’ll continue to write and report, as possible.

Jim Buchanan is now the editor. I feel grateful there’s someone here with his experience, ability and news sense. He will make this newspaper better.

Second, we are making reductions in the number of pages we produce. Jim’s challenge will be making wise use of every inch of real estate. We don’t want to cover less, but with fewer pages, we must be increasingly selective in what we publish.

There’s more to come. I will do my best to keep this community informed.

Quintin Ellison is general manager of The Herald.