This month, The Daily News turned 180 years old. Let that sink in for a moment. The Daily News is among the oldest continuously operating businesses in Texas — even predating the statehood. One hundred eighty years is one big monumental chunk of time by any industry standard.

I write this column for two sets of people — those who came before us and those who will follow.

For those of us now at The Daily News, we feel a responsibility to manage and steer this Texas institution safely into the next generation’s hands. We know this newspaper recorded some of the most important and impactful stories in our state’s and nation’s history.

But, we also recognize many people had to make difficult and — at times — courageous decisions to move The Daily News forward.

Like life, longevity comes from years of taking care of ourselves, learning from our mistakes and knowing when to make changes in our life. A business is no different.

Being open to technological changes, changes in people’s preferences and recognizing your customers’ needs is not for the meek.

Historically speaking, The Daily News is in a perpetual state of evolution. Initially, the newspaper’s primary delivery method was selling copies on a street corner — local businesses advertising was a relatively new concept. Over time, people requested home delivery of The Daily News.

Finally, advertising began to fill the pages as local businesses recognized the opportunity to share messages about their goods and services. Doing so moved the model from most revenues coming from coins collected on street corners to being increasingly dependent on advertising.

The next big transition occurred when advertisers wanted to reach people more than once a week. So the newspaper moved to a couple of days a week, eventually, in the late 20th century, moving to a seven-day-a-week model.

With each move came the enormous risk of financial failure or reward. Fortunately, those at the helm of The Daily News made enough of the right decisions.

Today’s business world is equally intimidating. It’s no less life-threatening than in earlier generations for all businesses. For The Daily News, this requires transitioning to speaking to both a traditional print audience and developing a new group of readers in the digital spectrum. A balancing act, so to speak.

Many people in Galveston County move seamlessly between a digital and traditional world. Both print and digital occupy a meaningful place in their lives.

But today’s world is more about getting what you want when you want it and how you want it. Even your local grocery store or favorite retail shop faces the same formula.

For the readers and employees today, I thank you for allowing us to share this remarkable and historical journey.

To those in the future, know we base today’s decisions on both the weight and responsibility for delivering this institution safely into the hands of our following community residents, supporters and leaders.

And we plan to deliver on this commitment.

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

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