Rick Lubbers column: The News Tribune will soon print newspapers twice a week and move to all-mail delivery
Changes are effective July 8, and we will continue reporting on the news seven days a week.
My first taste of newspaper journalism came as a youngster, typing up news reports and sports stories onto a single sheet of paper and delivering that “newspaper” to my neighbors’ mailboxes.
That whet my appetite, and journalism became the only profession I ever pursued.
Decades later, my love for journalism and being editor of the Duluth News Tribune has never waned.
But much has changed with the newspaper industry during the past 40 years, especially in how the news is delivered. Since the advent of the internet, increasing numbers of readers have chosen to receive their daily news from websites and electronic editions of the newspaper. The hard-working, dedicated News Tribune employees have always striven to give our community the best newspaper we could.
However, a daily newspaper is expensive to produce and deliver. It only works financially when there is a strong combination of print subscribers and print advertisers.
Print advertising and subscriptions have been declining for years, all while digital readership continues to grow. Unfortunately, the pandemic has accelerated the advertising decline, greatly challenging the economics of the printed paper.
In early April, we reduced the size of the physical paper in order to continue delivering news to our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had hoped that difficult decision would be the only one to make. Sadly, it wasn’t.
Due to the pandemic’s long-lasting, negative effects on our local economy, on Wednesday, July 8, the News Tribune will move to a two-day print delivery schedule of Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Saturday paper will be very similar in content to our current Sunday edition. At that time, we will also change from carrier delivery to mail delivery of the printed paper, which for many will mean a different delivery time those two days.
Unfortunately, this change means the News Tribune’s independent carrier force will be eliminated as well as some of the dedicated employees in our circulation department.
But there are some positive outcomes with this change.
The new Wednesday and Saturday print editions will be filled with all the news, features, sports and advertising that our print readers value.
The News Tribune e-paper, an electronic replica of the daily newspaper, will still be produced seven days a week and is free for all subscribers to access at duluthnewstribune.com . Many readers who have tried our e-paper have told me they enjoy it. It’s delivered early each day, is easy to page through and enlarge, resembles the printed newspaper and contains more news content than we are able to currently print in the physical paper.
Other online readers enjoy the constantly updated, up-to-the-minute news delivery on our website. Subscribers have access to both.
While some things are changing, please know that we will continue reporting on the news seven days a week. We will cover your favorite local sports teams, share your celebratory milestones and sorrow-filled memorials, and offer everything from investigative reporting and explanatory stories to local features and opinion pieces.
If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to join the 40,000 readers who have created a News Tribune account and try the digital access that comes with your print subscription. You can do this by going to duluthnewstribune.com/activate . Once activated, please check out the e-paper. I think you’ll like it after you give it a try. We are also happy to help walk anyone through this process. Simply call 218-723-5281 or email email@example.com.
I love producing and reading printed newspapers. Paper and ink are in my blood.
As difficult as it has been, the decision to reduce print delivery days ensures we can still deliver the most comprehensive news report to the Northland for many years to come.
We thank you for your loyal readership over the years and humbly ask for your continued support.