A change is coming for the Brainerd Dispatch in less than two weeks.

For the first time in 137 years, the daily edition will not roll off the presses, but will instead be available to readers in a digital format. Two days each week — Wednesday and Sunday — a robust printed paper will still arrive in the early morning hours at lakes area homes. But on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we hope readers will continue to make us part of their daily routine by exploring some of the benefits of our E-Paper.

If you’re a print subscriber, you already have a digital membership as well. If you’re a newsstand reader, a digital membership is available to you at just $9.99 per month, or $100 for a year. It may seem daunting for those less comfortable in the digital realm, but I’m here to tell you it can be as simple as checking your email each morning to find your Dispatch, instead of your mailbox. Not a bad deal on these steamy, hot days of late, or the bitter cold mornings we know will come.

The Download option available in the E-Paper version of the Brainerd Dispatch. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins
The Download option available in the E-Paper version of the Brainerd Dispatch. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins

Save for inky fingers and fire-starting material, it offers everything our printed editions do — clipping, saving and printing articles, bookmarking a spot to read later, along with the comics and puzzles and Dear Abby and exclusive local content you won’t find anywhere else. It even offers the satisfying and familiar sound of turning pages as you flip through the daily news.

The E-Paper also offers options the printed word never could — the abilities to enlarge type in our local stories for ease of reading or to zoom in on our action-packed or scenic photos, for instance. Content is searchable within a single daily edition or across all archived editions, just by typing in a keyword. Soon, we aim to incorporate live links to our photo galleries, videos, podcasts and more, making it a one-stop shop for your Brainerd news and beyond.

We know many of our residents have family, friends and other connections across the region. Your membership gains you access to our website along with all of the Forum Communications Co. newspapers, so you can peruse the daily edition from your hometown of Rochester or track the happenings of your alma mater in Duluth. Check out our sister paper, the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, or our neighbors to the west, the Wadena Pioneer Journal. We offer members-only content, too, along with discounts, exclusive event invites and prizes just for our readers.

Content produced by all Forum Communications Co. properties is available to members through their websites and E-Papers. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins
Content produced by all Forum Communications Co. properties is available to members through their websites and E-Papers. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins

Intrigued? I hope so. We certainly have no plans to slow down our coverage. Our newsroom is as committed as ever to providing this critical service to our community, whether it’s keeping you up to date on how your tax dollars are spent, warning you of inclement weather headed our way or simply putting a smile on your face with a slice of life in the lakes area. In a time of uncertainty, we need the support of our readers more than ever to ensure we can continue delivering quality, trustworthy reporting on the topics that matter most.

Following is a step-by-step guide to activating your digital account, finding the E-Paper and getting the most out of the digital Dispatch. Still need help? No problem. Our friendly circulation staff can walk you through the process and make sure you’re comfortable every step of the way. Just call 218-855-5897 or email memberservices@brainerddispatch.com.

Creating and activating a digital account

Step 1: Visit brainerddispatch.com/activate.

Step 2: Create an account by registering with Google, Facebook or providing an email address and password. Make sure to click in the box next to “I’m not a robot” (unless you are a robot) and the box stating you’ve read our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. If you’d like to receive daily emails with a link to the E-Paper or have access to any number of our exclusive newsletters, leave the box checked with “I want to receive emails.” Write down your email address and password somewhere safe. If you’ve already registered, click Log In, located in the bottom right corner.

Step 3: If you’re a print subscriber, now it’s time to activate your digital subscription. If you’re not, now it’s time to become one or sign on for a digital membership. After registering, you will be prompted to fill out information including your name, delivery address and phone number. This information must match what we have on file for your print subscription. If unsure, call 218-855-5897. Members of the same household can register with their own email addresses and passwords, as long as the same subscriber information is listed when activating the digital subscription.

Step 4: Click the white Log In button in the upper right corner and use the email and password you’ve just set for your account. If you’re not on a public computer, select “Keep me logged in.” On most browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome), this should mean you don’t have to log in again for six months. For those who’ve visited our website before, another benefit to membership is no longer having to answer surveys to view stories. Those should not appear when logged in.

How to tell if you’re logged in: The two buttons in the top right should say Benefits and My Account. If on a tablet or mobile device, you should see My Account in that corner.

Finding the E-Paper on BrainerdDispatch.com

There are multiple ways to access the E-Paper on our website.

  • On a desktop computer, there is a link above the My Account button that says E-Paper.

  • On a tablet or mobile device, click the three lines on the left — the menu button — and the E-Paper will be listed first below the search bar.

  • At the bottom of our site on all formats, there’s an Access E-Paper option under the Newspaper heading.

  • If you’d rather not mess with any of these options, follow the next steps for daily direct access.

Getting the E-Paper delivered to your inbox

You’ll only have to do this once to receive daily emails linking you directly to the E-Paper.

Step 1: Click on My Account.

Step 2: Click on Newsletters on the left side of the page.

Step 3: Here, you can select from any of the newsletters we offer. But the important one here is the last one listed: E-edition Email (exclusive to subscribers). Check this box and click Update Newsletters.

Step 4: Sit back, relax and know you’ll never miss a day of the Brainerd Dispatch.

How to use the E-Paper

Now it’s time for the fun part: exploring all our digital edition has to offer.

The first thing to do is click the “i” icon, the first icon in the menu bar along the top right. When you hover over this icon, you’ll see it says How To Use. This option gives you a quick primer on what many of the buttons mean on the screen.

Other icons provide options including Create Clipping, Print, Bookmarks, Download, Archive and Share. Tools in the top left corner make it possible to change the view of the paper to fit the screen, show as a single page or as a double page — the latter of which is the most akin to the paper version. You can also zoom in and out to your liking.

The How To Use function explains how to use some of the features of the E-Paper. This is the mobile version, which has a different look than the desktop version. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins
The How To Use function explains how to use some of the features of the E-Paper. This is the mobile version, which has a different look than the desktop version. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins

Navigate through the pages with the arrow buttons in the middle or use the arrow keys on your keyboard. Navigation can also be done at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on Pages brings up small thumbnails of each page along with a listing of sections.

Clicking on a story brings up the photos and text in another format. Within this screen, you can enlarge the text, share the story via email or social media, and print it. When viewing in this mode, you can page through every story in the paper by clicking Previous Article or Next Article on the bottom of the box. This option is particularly important for those of you who like to do our crossword puzzles, contract bridge or sudokus. Just click once on the puzzle, hit print and you’ll be stimulating your brain in no time.

Or, if you’d prefer to save a clipping just as it appears in the paper, select the Create Clipping option. To create a clipping, click and hold on the edition, drawing the area you wish to clip. You can then move or resize the clipping box. If satisfied, click the checkmark icon below the clipping to preview, save, print or share.

The Archive option brings you to every paper we’ve produced since October 2019, with back issues to come. Use the Search function to look for a specific story or stories, either within that day’s edition or all previous editions currently available in archives.

Again, if any of this is confusing or frustrating you, we’re more than happy to help. We want nothing more than for the digital experience to be smooth and enjoyable for all our readers.

For more information

For help on any aspect of the process in registering for an account, activating a digital subscription, accessing the E-Paper or how to use it to its fullest, call Circulation 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7-10 a.m. Saturday at 218-855-5897 or 800-432-3703. Or email memberservices@brainerddispatch.com.



CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.