Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Two Vermont dailies to print four days a week

The Herald, founded in 1794, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for
editorials on civil unions. (
Early next month Vermont's Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus will stop publishing print editions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The sister newspapers will continue to publish online seven days a week. The reduced printing schedule will result in expanded newsprint editions Thursday through Sunday, Patrick McArdle of the Herald reported.

Company executives announced the decision to employees on Monday evening. R. John Mitchell, chairman and president of the Herald Association Inc., said the changes will allow the company to continue its mission without cutting additional jobs.

“I think we were at the place that all newspapers get to currently,” Mitchell said. "We've cut, I think, all the jobs we can without really decimating the newsroom. This is an attempt to keep from having dramatic layoffs in the newsroom and to try and monetize the technical base we've built for social media.” Mitchell said most of the newspapers' revenue is generated by the print edition of the paper. His goal is to expand online revenue so that both sides contribute equally.

Catherine Nelson, publisher and CEO, said the company would be lax if administrators didn't pursue another model for delivering the news. She described the traditional standard of printing newspapers and driving them to people's homes is archaic and no longer cost-effective. She said most people now get their news from computers or smartphones, and the technology has become so ubiquitous, even in rural Vermont, that e-papers can be delivered as effectively and consistently as if paper copies were brought to people's doorsteps.

The company says that since 2010, readers have purchased 49,500 digital subscriptions. The combined print subscriptions of both newspapers is 18,000. Mitchell said the company will revamp websites for both papers. Both papers will still be considered dailies by industry convention.

The papers eliminated their Sunday news desk in 2009 and laid off 20 people over the course of a year, Anne Galloway of reported. More layoffs have followed. The Times Argus sold its building in Barre several years ago, and the Herald building has been up for sale. In December, the papers dropped publication of the New England Business Journals.

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