Sun­day Her­ald to be dis­con­tin­ued

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Viewpoints - SOUTH­ERN AL­BERTA NEWS­PA­PERS

Fol­low­ing sig­nif­i­cant sub­scriber feed­back, as well as other eco­nomic fac­tors, the Leth­bridge Her­ald is re­turn­ing to its roots next month.

Start­ing in Jan­uary, The Her­ald will elim­i­nate its Sun­day print edi­tion and be­come a six-day-a-week pub­li­ca­tion. The Her­ald be­gan pub­lish­ing on Sun­days on April 12, 1992.

Her­ald pub­lisher Brian Han­cock says it is never an easy de­ci­sion to make a ma­jor change, but tra­di­tional me­dia in gen­eral are fac­ing chal­lenges. Lo­cal ra­dio and TV sta­tions are go­ing through the same kind of is­sues, he said.

“Min­i­mum wage in­creased 11 per cent again — 47 per cent over the past few years — pa­per costs went up 18 per cent in a year, press plates went up six per cent based on tar­iffs — all the ris­ing costs have to be ab­sorbed or passed along,” Han­cock said.

“If we stayed at seven days a week, we would have had to raise rates 10 to 15 per cent just to cover in­creased costs. In the past, when­ever we had to raise prices, we got the same feed­back from a large num­ber of read­ers and ad­ver­tis­ers of ‘why don’t you just stop do­ing a Sun­day pa­per?’”

Her­ald cir­cu­la­tion man­ager Ryan Turner added sub­scrip­tion rates are nor­mally in­creased once or twice each year.

“Can­celling the Sun­day edi­tion al­lows us to not have a rate in­crease this year,” he said. “All prices for sub­scrip­tions will re­main as they are for 2019.”

With the change back to pub­lish­ing a print edi­tion six days a week, The Her­ald’s driv­ers and car­ri­ers will also see re­lief.

“Our driv­ers and car­ri­ers work 358 days a year,” Turner said. “Once we move to six days a week they will only be work­ing 307. Cur­rently, we have con­trac­tors that get over­whelmed with the con­stant work which leads to many quit­ting.

“With car­ri­ers stay­ing on the job longer it will help with the con­sis­tency of de­liv­ery. With six days a week, it should also be much eas­ier to find car­ri­ers that can­not com­mit to ev­ery­day de­liv­ery.”

Turner adds if you or any­one you know would like to de­liver news­pa­pers, to call The Her­ald at 403327-5511 and talk to Mike or Kevin.

What will not be chang­ing with the move back to six days is our news cov­er­age, Han­cock stresses.

“Our week­end cov­er­age of lo­cal news will ac­tu­ally ex­pand; all lo­cal sto­ries will be posted to our web­site im­me­di­ately,” he said, and added that Satur­day edi­tions will fea­ture ex­tra news pages, as well as ex­tra puz­zles, plus Mon­day’s print edi­tion will have wrap-ups of the week­end news.

“Our week­end re­porters will have more time to cover what’s hap­pen­ing, and we will be at more events than ever on week­ends. News hap­pens seven days a week. We will be there more than ever be­fore. We have cho­sen to keep it lo­cal, not run syn­di­cated con­tent from na­tional com­pa­nies. Our fo­cus is, and al­ways will be, our lo­cal mar­ket. The method of de­liv­ery on Sun­days is chang­ing but not the fo­cus on lo­cal news.”

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