Friday, July 11, 2008 By Aaron Brown
Let me translate that: "Hey, Little Billy. Spot had to go away, but don't worry. He went to a farm with lots of chickens to chase and a big bed for him to sleep on."
Stories like this are going to become common in the next few years. Small daily newspapers are being forced to take drastic measures as readership and revenue decline while corporate pressures increase. But don't be fooled by one part of the story. You don't cut publication days and (soon) jobs and keep producing enough content to sustain an online newspaper. Online news sites require massive amounts of content to remain compelling and I just don't see that happening in this kind of situation. You're going to get a twice weekly with a good website, which is better than nothing, but a net loss for Superior.
The twice-weekly model can be effective for smaller newspapers. The Grand Rapids Herald-Review has been twice weekly forever and they do a reasonably good job. For a long time the paper was very profitable, too. But it's a very different kind of newspaper for those used to the regular pulse of the daily newspaper.
There is always the inevitable spin from ownership in these situations, but small town papers are hurting all over and there will be much more of this coming in the next 5-10 years.