The Southeast Missourian, a newspaper that I occasionally read, has announced that it will suspend publication of its Saturday edition and raise the newsstand (though not the home delivery) prices of its daily and Sunday editions. It cites smaller ad revenues and the high costs of production and distribution for the decisions.
Interestingly, the newspaper’s publisher, Jon Rust, does not mention lower readership as one of the reasons for the changes. In fact, he says that the number of people who read the news his staff gathers has increased “substantially” — a fact that he attributes to strong, comprehensive reporting, and to the useful integration of new technologies (text alerts, website) with the printed paper.
The Cape Girardeau newspaper is 105 years old, only a little younger than its 130 year-old daily cousin in St. Louis. The challenges being faced by the Cape and St. Louis papers are pretty much the same. Both newspapers are working to meet them. I — and you — should watch their efforts anxiously. Would you know anything at all about events that affect the three-quarters of the state’s population living outside of St. Louis if you relied only on television and radio news gathering — and would the rest of Missouri know anything about us (except explosions and sports scores), if they did not have local newspapers?