It wasn't long ago that the residents of Carbon and Emery counties could only get their local news by going down to the local store and buying a paper or sending the cash in for a subscription.
And it was almost 10 years ago when the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress began putting some of their news and community events on a website so that those who had internet access could look at what was going on in the county no matter where they lived.
Yet there was something incomplete about this. The web offered a variety, but not nearly all the information that that printed versions of the papers had in them. As of this week that will now change, as both papers will go on-line with complete versions of their papers says Richard Shaw, the publisher of both publications.
"We now have three ways of delivering the news to each of our readers," he said. "Of course you can still take the paper in the basic form they were conceived of more than 100 years ago. But now you can also get abbreviated versions at our web sites (www.sunad.com and www, ecprogress.com) as has been the case for a few years or you can subscribe to our complete on-line version of the papers, which we call the Virtual Paperboy."
The new on-line versions will be up to date and will often be available on-line before the regular paper hits the stands on publication days. And in some ways the on-line version will be superior.
"Because of the printing restrictions on our press we can only print the outside pages of out paper in color," says Shaw. "The on-line version will be in color throughout. Some ads and photos will still be black and white because that is the way they came to us or were designed, but all color photos will come to the readers in their full bloom."
Even better for readers, the rates for the on-line edition subscriptions are lower than the actual paper rates are.
"Where I see this as a very real service to our customers is for those who live out of the area or those who know someone who does live outside the area that would like to have the complete newspaper at their disposal," stated Shaw.
In the past those subscribers that live outside of Carbon and Emery counties did not get any of the specials mailed to them. They only got the basic sections of the paper, because handling and mailing costs are so high. With a Virtual Paperboy subscription, they get access to all the specials.
"Another thing that many outside the area will like is the fact that they will not have to wait so long to get their paper," explained Shaw. "People in New York, California or for that matter, Paris, will have the paper on their screens before many of the local residents get it delivered."
While the physical out of area papers are mailed on the same day as all the papers for the local area, third class mail is seldom a priority of the postal service, and consequently arrival times can vary greatly.
"Think about the possibilities of this service," says Shaw. "People who go south for the winter can take the paper on-line so they are up-to-date about what is going on. Or what about kids going away to school. Parents who send kids off to college with a lap top computer can also send them with a Vitual Paperboy subscription so they can keep up on what is going on at home. This service is perfect for young people, many of whom seldom pick up the paper. But they will look at what is on their computer screens."
Another advantage of the on-line edition will be full archiving.
"Subscribers can also buy the right to go into archives of both papers," said Shaw. "Within a few weeks the archives will run back to the beginning of 2007. But as time goes on those archives will grow and depending on the subscription they select, people will be able to search for information in back issues of both papers."
For those who wish to subscribe to the on-line service, they can go to the Sun Advocate or Emery County Progress web sites and there is a link on the right side of the page that says "Online subscription" and it has the logo of the Virtual Paperboy on it as well. Clicking that link will take the reader to an explanation of the service and then another link will take them to the forms where they can sign up for the Virtual Paperboy services they desire.
The new on-line newspaper service will eventually tie in with other on-line services the papers will soon offer. In the near future people who want to put classified ads in the papers will be able to do so on-line, entering the information themselves, as they would like it to appear.
"For traditional newspaper readers readers the print edition will always be around. The Virtual Paperboy just adds to our ability to supply home grown news and information to the citizens of our area," concluded Shaw.