To our faithful Pineandlakes Echo Journal subscribers: You only have to wait six - not seven - days to get your next issue delivered to your home.

That’s right. Starting July 15, the Echo Journal will become a weekly newspaper with a Wednesday publication date. Not only will people be able to buy the newspaper at convenience stores and grocery stores on Wednesdays, it’ll be delivered to homes on Wednesdays and will carry a Wednesday dateline.

This is a first in the history of the Echo Journal, which has been a Thursday publication since the Lake Country Echo and Pine River Journal merged to become one broadsheet newspaper in the fall of 2013.

I believe this is a first in the history of the Lake Country Echo as well, with the first-ever issue published Thursday, March 2, 1972, and weekly on Thursdays for the past 48-plus years.

And to my knowledge, the Pine River Journal was published on Thursdays since its beginnings nearly 85 years ago.

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Why change our publication date now?

For one reason, it makes sense. We put our newspaper together on Tuesdays and it prints on the press in Brainerd on Tuesday nights. Instead of sitting for 24 hours waiting to be delivered, now your Echo Journal will be delivered hot off the press.

The main reason, though, is because our sister newspaper, the Brainerd Dispatch, is changing from a six-day-a-week printed newspaper to being printed two days. Those two days are Wednesdays and Sundays (delivered Saturdays). The remaining days of the week - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - the Dispatch will be available online as an e-edition. That means it’ll look just like a printed newspaper you hold in your hands, but you’ll flip through the pages on your computer or other electronic device.

The same newspaper carriers deliver both the Echo Journal and Brainerd Dispatch. Thus, the Echo Journal will be delivered Wednesdays with the Dispatch (if you're a Dispatch subscriber too). Your Echoland-Piper Shopper will continue to be delivered Fridays.

The first Country Echo weekly newspaper was published Thursday, March 2, 1972.
The first Country Echo weekly newspaper was published Thursday, March 2, 1972.

The Dispatch follows a trend among all other daily newspapers owned by our parent company, Forum Communications. They’ve all dropped to two print editions a week, with e-editions on the other days.

The reasons are many, but ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the move.

Did you know the Echo Journal can be read online as an e-edition as well? If you’re a snowbird who goes somewhere warm and sunny for the winter, you can still read your Echo Journal (and the Brainerd Dispatch and all other Forum Communications newspapers) online by activating a digital membership that comes with your print subscription.

Simply go to pineandlakes.com/activate. Check out our e-edition and those of other Forum Communications newspapers. It’s just like paging through and reading your printed newspaper, but you won’t get ink on your hands and you can increase the text size among other features.

If you need a little help, contact our circulation department at 218-855-5897 or email memberservices@brainerddispatch.com.

To our faithful subscribers, we can’t thank you enough for continuing to support community journalism. We’ll see you next Wednesday.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.