The Paris News will change its business model in response to the historical effect Covid-19 is having on the local, state and national economies and the newspaper industry, company officials announced Friday.
On Tuesday, The Paris News will begin a three-day-a-week publishing schedule with a larger focus on digital news coverage and features, company leaders said.
Print editions of The Paris News will be distributed to subscribers and single-copy readers Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
The Paris News will continue to publish local news daily through its digital edition, TheParisNews.com.
“The Paris News is much like any other small business. Our business model relies on revenues generated from local advertising and subscriptions,” publisher Relan Walker said. “Our circulation has been growing, and it’s even picked up substantially during this pandemic, but it’s not enough to offset the loss of advertising as our local businesses weather this economic storm.”
About 70% of the newspaper’s revenue comes from the advertising of primarily local businesses; the balance is from subscriptions and other products.
The decision to change print frequency did not come easily for the newspaper.
“We made this decisive change to our operating model to be able to navigate through this punishing economic tunnel,” said Leonard Woolsey, publisher of The Galveston Daily News and president of Southern Newspapers Inc., which owns The Paris News. “Doing nothing is not an option. We intend to serve this community for the long-term.”
The announcement comes at a time when the U.S. newspaper industry, which already was facing headwinds, is being especially hard hit by the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and response to that.
Publishers and newspaper companies across the nation are taking similar steps to cut costs and increase efficiency as they work to develop new sources of revenue and continue to serve their readers in a time of global crisis, Woolsey said.
The new production schedule will allow The Paris News to cut newsprint expenses and help it preserve employees, he said.
“Paris newspapers have changed before — they’ve risen, fallen and merged since the 1860s when what became The Paris News was founded,” managing editor Klark Byrd said. “What hasn’t and what will not change is our dedication to providing quality journalism, to sharing the community’s stories and pictures and to bringing readers the features they adore.”
That includes comics, horoscopes and puzzles, Byrd said, adding those features will be doubled-up on days of print.