Dear Ponte Vedra NewsLine readers,
I want to personally thank each of you for making us your community newspaper. This month marks the 15th anniversary of the first issue of our first newspaper serving northern St. Johns County. Since then our family of newspapers has grown to include six community newspapers, including Ponte Vedra NewsLine.
The years since we began publishing have straddled some of the most tumultuous events of our lifetimes, from 9/11 through two wars and the Great Recession and we’ve survived by staying focused on the news and events that happened here.
During those years I first covered news here as a reporter and editor for the daily papers, then as managing editor and editor of a Ponte Vedra weekly newspaper for several years.
Now, as publisher of the only newspaper mailed to every household in Ponte Vedra Beach, South Ponte Vedra, Palm Valley and Nocatee, I’m proud to say we don’t just cover Ponte Vedra, we’re a part of it.
Your concerns are our concerns. Your triumphs are our triumphs. And we appreciate your loyalty and support.
You’ve probably noticed that we’ve made some changes. Beginning with the nameplate at the top of page one, we’ve given Ponte Vedra NewsLine the ink and paper equivalent of an oil change and a fresh coat of paint. We’ve also rethought what it means to be your community newspaper.
We are changing the dates on the top of the paper. Ponte Vedra NewsLine will continue to be a monthly newspaper, but we are realigning our distribution dates to ensure the news you receive is timelier.
Over the years our publication date drifted and sometimes you received your newspaper after the beginning of the month. Occasionally “happenings” had already happened by the time you read about them.
We thought the New Year was a good time to set things right. This issue we’re calling January-February, but you will receive your March issue before March 1, and every issue that follows before the first of the month.
We’ve also placed a new emphasis on the quality of our reporting and storytelling.
When the Circulation Verification Council surveyed Ponte Vedra residents it reported that more than 98 percent of you receive Ponte Vedra NewsLine, more than 80 percent of households regularly read Ponte Vedra NewsLine and 79 percent regularly buy products or services from ads in Ponte Vedra NewsLine.
Those are readership numbers most publications can only dream of. To better serve our readers — and our advertisers — we’ve recruited a stable of talented writers and photographers to help us better cover the news, craft better features and show you the faces, places and events in Ponte Vedra, Nocatee and Palm Valley.
Among other changes you can see are a clean new look that makes Ponte Vedra NewsLine easier on the eyes and easier for you to integrate into your busy lives. Our new four-column layout opens up the page and makes it easier to read.
The front page now offers multiple points of entry to help you quickly find the stories you care about, as does the index on page two. We’ve recently added a crossword and other puzzles and have reintroduced classified ads, which we will soon expand.
You’ll still find the “refrigerator magnet” stories and photos that are our bread and butter. Schools, local sports, community organizations and charity events will be featured in every issue, and now we’ve added an event calendar you can save to keep you up to date on local happenings throughout the month.
The nameplate at the top of the front page sports a fresh new logo and now includes a nod to the family of community newspapers that includes Ponte Vedra NewsLine. Florida NewsLine is comprised of six hyper-local publications that combined reach more First Coast readers than any single newspaper (yes, including that one).
Not everything is new. Our news font is based on a design that was old when Shakespeare published his first play. Davey Wiggins is still lost somewhere in each issue. Advertising Executive Marcy Mickler is still here and Editor Martie Thompson has been here since the first issue. Both have played integral roles in our redesign and will continue to help steer us toward the future.
But we’re not through making changes. Now it’s your turn to tell us what features you would like to see in your community newspaper. Please email your thoughts and suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t close without mentioning PonteVedraNewsLine.com, which has been completely redesigned as a mobile-friendly, responsive website regularly updated with new content, including stories and features that you won’t find in the print edition. You’ll also find a .pdf of the latest issue in case you want to direct out-of-town loved ones to a picture or story they might want to hang on their refrigerator.
To stay even more up-to-date, you can receive updates in your inbox. Join our mailing list by texting NEWSLINE to 22828 and you’ll receive a response requesting your email address.
Thank you for being a loyal Ponte Vedra NewsLine reader. We will strive to continue to earn the right to be your source for news and events happening in and affecting Ponte Vedra.
Mark Pettus, Publisher