Big Rapids Pioneer reports highest number of subscribers since 2018

The Pioneer Group publishes the Big Rapids Pioneer, the Herald Review and the Lake County Star.

The Pioneer Group publishes the Big Rapids Pioneer, the Herald Review and the Lake County Star.

Pioneer photo/Julie Norwood

BIG RAPIDS — The Big Rapids Pioneer has seen growth in the past several years, reaching the highest amount of subscribers since 2018.

The Pioneer currently has 2,350 print and digital only subscribers, up 275 subscribers from two years ago in 2020. This is the highest number of subscriber relations since 2018, where the Pioneer had 2,450 subscribers at this time.

Circulation director Aaron Dekuiper said this was due to the diversification of subscription and readership options. 

"We’ve put together a robust digital offering, combining the quality journalism that has been a hallmark of the Pioneer for over a century with a convenient, easy to use way to get the news digitally.  All told, the Pioneer is just as available as it once was in print and is now also very accessible on the go, too!"

DeKuiper said the Pioneer began seeing growth in this area in 2018 when parent company Hearst Newspapers began investing in digital option for readers to receive the Pioneer, creating newsletters and an overhaul of the papers e-edition. 

"It helps the Pioneer to be available for our readers, when and where they find it convenient for them," DeKuiper said. "This strengthens the tight fabric of community involvement that the Pioneer has had for generations and helps ensure that will continue well into the future as well."

Even with a dip in numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the diversification process allowed for a substantial recovery and growth for the Pioneer.

"Initially, like many businesses, these numbers declined early on during the pandemic, but then the diversified readership options the Pioneer developed, alongside strong support and partnership from the community, jump started the substantial growth we’ve been seeing," DeKuiper said.

Pioneer staff was appreciative of the areas continued support.

"It's important to us to be able to provide quality journalism for Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties, and the support of our subscribers allow us to do that," associate editor Julie Norwood said. "We appreciate they have stuck with us throughout the tough times these past few years."

Currently, the Pioneer is selling six month's worth of online-only subscriptions for 99 cents. More information can be found at