Starting next year, Current’s print editions will be “fewer and fatter”

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As we turn the page on another year, I want to express my appreciation to the staff of Current for their hard work, to the many freelance reporters and commentators who have contributed their stories and ideas, and to our readers (especially our subscribers) who keep Current flowing. And I want to thank the Wyncote Foundation and American University for their continued sponsorship and support.

Changes are underway at Current. In 2016, Current will launch a range of initiatives aimed at improving our service to you. We will also go from producing 23 print issues per year to 16.

It’s no secret that many news organizations have been shifting from print to online and mobile. Print is expensive, and an ever-growing number of Current readers are finding and preferring the immediacy of our content online. In November, more than 65,000 unique visitors came to our website, a 60 percent increase over the previous year.

By reducing our print frequency, Current aims to serve you where you are: on smartphones, desktops and tablets; via email newsletters, podcasts and social media; and at the many public media conferences scheduled throughout the year. And we promise to improve what we offer to our loyal print subscribers, who can expect an updated design and more comprehensive coverage. One member of Current’s advisory group coined the term “fewer and fatter” to describe our print publishing strategy moving forward.

Reducing our footprint is a doubly green initiative — it will save both trees and money. But mostly it will liberate Current staff to direct more time and creative energy toward in-depth reporting projects that are now beyond our capacity to deliver. We are confident that changing our print production cycle will improve our overall information service, whether you read us on paper or on screens.

Current is in an exciting period of innovation. It’s a period that requires constant experimentation and re-evaluation of our service and strategy. We’ve been disrupted, and we are disrupting ourselves. Our commitment to excellence is strong and unshakeable.

“Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar.”

Friends of Doug Mitchell of NPR’s Next Generation project will recognize this stanza by Antonio Machado, which Doug has included in his email signature over the years. It means, “Traveler, there is no path; you make the path by walking.”

We don’t know what the future holds. But we at Current are embracing change, and we invite you to join us on this journey. Be our companion on this road trip, the friend who helps with navigation and snacks (and who finds the public radio station on the dial). We’ll make the path together.

Last month, I asked you to donate to Current. (You can still make a tax-deductible contribution.) Next month, we will ask for something even more valuable than your dollars: your sense. We plan to circulate a survey to get your feedback and learn about your interests so that in 2016 we can strive to better meet your information needs. The survey will be available in early January, and your participation will help guide our coverage and decisions in the year ahead. We need to hear from you.

Current aims to be a force for good in public media. We want to have a positive impact on our field. We want to inform, provoke, connect, engage and entertain you. And we want to inspire you by sharing the experiences, wisdom and ingenuity of your peers. This is our mission.

We fully expect that 16 issues of Current will deliver the same quantity and caliber of information you have come to expect from us — and more.

Thanks for all you do to make public media vibrant and for keeping this Current flowing. May yours be a season of joy.

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