Duluth News Tribune adjusts printed page count to navigate COVID-19 economy
The daily e-edition, which is a digital replica of the printed newspaper, will include pages that will not be included in print.
The Duluth News Tribune will implement a change to its printed newspaper in response to the unprecedented impact COVID-19 is having on the local, state and national economies and the newspaper industry.
On Monday, April 6, the News Tribune will begin printing and delivering a single-section, 12-page newspaper Mondays through Saturdays, dedicated mainly to local content. Sunday’s print version of the News Tribune will remain unchanged at this time.
Print copies of the News Tribune will continue to be distributed daily to subscribers and available for sale at local convenience stores and other vendor partners.
In addition, the News Tribune will continue to ramp up its digital news coverage at duluthnewstribune.com , which includes an e-edition . The daily e-edition, which is a digital replica of the printed newspaper, will include several pages, mainly focused on national and world news, that will not be included in print. Print subscribers to the News Tribune receive access to the e-edition, all of the News Tribune’s digital content, and access to all content from Forum Communications Company’s other publications. Both the print and e-editions will include comics and games, as well as the weather and TV grids.
“It’s no secret the newspaper industry has been transitioning from a print-centric business model to a digital membership model,” News Tribune Publisher Neal Ronquist said. “Unfortunately, the timeline for that transformation has been radically pushed up as a result of the unprecedented economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
“The News Tribune is a business, and like other small businesses it depends on revenue from local consumers,” Ronquist said. “Our business relies on revenue generated from subscriptions and local advertising. The disruption caused by COVID-19 to our local business community has significantly affected our revenue.”
The decision to eliminate printed pages is among a number of options considered. One option considered, but not enacted at this time, is to not print a newspaper on certain days.
“We would like to avoid day elimination of the printed newspaper,” Ronquist said. “It might be a possibility down the road if economic conditions do not improve. However, we understand at this critical moment how important it is for our readers to remain informed. Reducing pages, but continuing the daily delivery of a printed product is a reasonable solution at this time.”
Print readers are encouraged to regularly visit duluthnewstribune.com for breaking news, world and national news and news from other Forum Communications Company publications.
The announcement comes at a time when the U.S. newspaper industry, which already was facing substantial headwinds, is being especially hit hard by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Publishers and newspaper companies across the nation are taking similar steps to cut costs and increase efficiency as they continue the transition from a print-centric business model to a digital membership model.
The shift to a one-section, 12-page printed newspaper on Mondays through Saturdays will allow the News Tribune to reduce newsprint expenses.
“We’re seeing incredible readership numbers during this pandemic,” Ronquist said. “We know readers recognize the value of our content. Producing quality local content is not inexpensive. In order to continue to serve our community, we need local support. Subscribers and advertisers afford us the ability to continue to provide wages and benefits to our many talented employees.”
The daily page reductions will last for at least the next 30 days.
“Once the pandemic passes, economic activity ramps up and our revenues increase, and stabilize, we would anticipate adding back pages and sections,” Ronquist said. “We’ve been here for 151 years and with the support of our subscribers and local advertisers we will be here for many more years delivering the area’s best journalism both online and in print.”