Vermont dailies latest to say they will cutback the number of days they will print a newspaper
Despite a few risky tabloid launches, such as for New Day and 24 in the UK, the trend in the newspaper industry remains to cutback on print and home delivery days
Yesterday TNM noted the new tabloid newspaper being launched for the North of England, 24. Yet, despite the optimism of one local publisher, in this case, CN Group, the trend is to cut back on print, not expand on it. The reasons are simple, and likely not to change: print and distribution costs are simply higher with print (when compared to digital) and making up those costs through either subscriptions or print advertising is incredibly hard.
The result, at least in the US, is that publishers are choosing to cut back on the number of days they print and home deliver the paper. Advance Publications made a corporate strategy out of this throughout their chain – though union busting was really the goal.
The latest to announce print cutbacks is a small group of papers in Vermont, the Rutland Herald and the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. Those papers will no long produce papers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Advance, which publishes The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) and the Times-Picayune (New Orleans) among other papers, decided to cut back on the days it home delivered the paper, while still producing a paper seven days a week. The move by the Vermont papers eliminates producing a paper on those three days early in the week.
“I think we were at the place that all newspapers get to currently. We’ve cut, I think, all the jobs we can without really decimating the newsroom,” said R. John Mitchell, chairman and president of the Herald Association Inc. “This is an attempt to keep from having dramatic layoffs in the newsroom and to try and monetize the technical base we’ve built for social media.”
The two newspapers may not exactly be giant metros, but they have a long and distinguished history. The Rutland Herald is Vermont’s second largest newspaper, despite having only around 12K in circulation (the Burlington Free Press, with its 20K in circulation is the state’s largest newspaper). The family owned paper traces its founding back to 1794. In 2001, the Herald won a Pulitzer Prize for its series of editorials defending the civil unions decision in the state.