A letter to our readers and the community

Change is inevitable. We're writing to you today to tell you about the changes we're making at The Citizen.

Effective October 3, The Citizen will become a free weekly newspaper, available in neighbourhood boxes and at various other central locations, along with home delivery in certain residential areas of the city. We'll be printing our last daily print edition on Saturday, September 28.

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Becoming a weekly is not a decision that was made lightly or quickly, but we knew it was a necessary one in order to keep in step with the changing needs, habits and appetite for readily-available, quality journalism for local residents. Our online publication, princegeorgecitizen.com, remains the hub of our daily content, and the website will be updated constantly with the news and community content you love.

Back when this newspaper began publication 103 years ago, it was also a weekly. Devoted to providing the people of Prince George and the surrounding communities with journalistic excellence and storytelling that would reflect the world around them, it became a daily in 1957. Decades later, and with the advent of online versions of newspapers around the world, we are now able to give you those same stories that matter, with the same commitment to local, vital news - but now we're focusing on 24-7 delivery. A news organization always needs to listen to the people - and that's what we're doing. With most of our readers now finding us online, we are making this change to ensure quality and immediacy for you, and value for our sponsors and advertisers, who have financially supported our printing and distribution from the start.

Our core values remain the same. Whether it's breaking news, features, local sports team updates or community events, we will be there as we always have been. We'll also bring you those stories quickly and directly via your phone, computer, tablet, etc. and our weekly print edition will allow you to pick up the paper and read at your leisure.

As Charity Milner (The Citizen's former president) wrote to readers in November 1963, The Citizen's role is: "to bring out all the significant news and to tell the truth as we see truth, no matter whose feelings may be ruffled." That means bringing your daily news to you when it happens, holding governments and politicians to account, and continuing to take those bigger dives into important local stories that need our attention.

To our readers: we pledge to deliver the news stories you have come to rely on us for on a daily basis, and with the same commitment to integrity, values and passionate journalism as we have always done.

To our subscribers: we thank you for your continued support through the years. We hope you will continue to enjoy our weekly publication for free.

To our retailers and stores: thank you for including The Citizen on your shelves, and as an option for delivery. We will be printing a list of locations where the paper can be picked up weekly as we move forward.

To our sponsors and advertisers: we are thankful for your company on this journey, and we look forward to exploring new ways to bring your messages to our readers.

To our team: thank you. We couldn't be more grateful for all you have done and for all that we will continue to do together in the future.

On a personal note, both of us have been through many changes during our newspaper careers. When Colleen started at The Citizen 29 years ago and Neil was a summer student at the Kelowna Capital News, the newspaper was still being assembled each day by hand. Lengthy, labour-intensive processes eventually brought the paper to life every day, then it was back to work to get the next day's news together. Desktop publishing, 24-hour news demands and direct-to-plate printers have changed how we do things dramatically, but they haven't changed our values.

We both believe passionately in delivering local news and that's what we'll continue to do. And while we might miss the feel (and the smell) of a local daily newspaper over our morning cup of coffee, we aren't going away. Those who love to get their content online will see an increased dedication to that method of news delivery from our incredible Citizen news team. Those who love print will enjoy an enhanced weekly edition of The Citizen for free.

Thank you for making us a part of your daily lives. We hope you continue to place your trust in us. To quote Charity Milner one more time: "... we will continue to proclaim what we believe is the truth with force and sincerity. We will fight improvidence, rascality, stupidity and sloth in the management of public business and formulation of public policy without fear or favour."

The way we're fulfilling that mission is changing but why we do it hasn't changed one single bit.

Sincerely,

Colleen Sparrow, Publisher and General Manager

Neil Godbout, Editor-in-chief

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