Sunday Herald to be discontinued
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.”