On behalf of all of us at The Spokesman-Review, thank you for keeping us part of your day despite all the adjustments to routine you’ve made in the last few weeks to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re working hard to stay away from our desks and continue doing our jobs. It’s an amazing thing to walk into the dark and empty newsroom at 4:30 p.m. and still know we’ll get the paper out! We’re producing more local stories than ever, even under these unusual circumstances, and so many of you have called to let us know you have noticed. Thank you.
However, with so many people at home, the economy has slowed dramatically and many of our important advertising customers have understandably cut their budgets. This in turn forces us to find ways to cut ours. After considering several options, our executive management team has decided against furloughs or other temporary measures in favor of a permanent strategic move toward our more digital future. Effective April 25, we will cease to print a Saturday newspaper.
While we regret having to pull back in any way from producing and distributing a printed newspaper, we’ll continue to publish a Saturday e-Edition and we’ll spread Saturday’s print pages to other days of the week. There will be no reduction in story or photo count. And we’ll add several features to the “E” to enhance its appeal. In this way, we’ll minimize impact on readers and advertisers, incentivize more digital engagement by readers, preserve jobs for our journalists and ad sales team, and build our ability to compete for readership in the long term.
Editor Rob Curley, Marketing and Business Development Director Kathleen Coleman and their teams have crafted a plan that includes the following:
- Our four-page family section will move to Monday
- Arts, Business & Opinion, Northwest and Sports sections will expand on Sunday
- Classifieds, including real estate open houses, will move from Saturdays to Fridays
- Saturday comics and syndicated articles will run in print on Sunday
We anticipate that advertisers in Saturday’s newspaper will shift to Friday, Sunday and Monday in addition to taking advantage of very low rates on Saturday’s e-Edition.
In choosing this path, we join the ranks of dozens of U.S. newspapers, including Tacoma, Boise, Fresno, Modesto, Fort Worth, Charlotte and Miami, which have made this dramatic change and lived to tell about it. All 30 of the McClatchy Newspaper Company’s newspapers will drop their Saturday print editions by the end of this year.
We extend sympathy to our carriers and transportation folks whose incomes will be negatively affected, but who will now get the day off on Saturdays – a first in more than 125 years. We thank you, our readers, for considering a shift to digital on Saturdays. And we offer you our best wishes for your continued health and safety.
William “Stacey” Cowles
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