The Miami Herald, a McClatchy-owned newspaper, is making some big changes in the new year. Starting on March 21, 2020, the Miami Herald will no longer print a Saturday edition. Instead, it will launch a weekend edition which will include expanded Friday and Sunday papers. Popular features like local sports coverage, comics, TV listings and the real estate section will be among the items featured in the expanded papers. Readers who want breaking news coverage from the Miami Herald can find that on MiamiHerald.com and the newspapers social media channels.
The announcement was made by Aminda Marqus Gonzlez, president, publisher and executive editor, in a December 17 letter to readers. Marqus Gonzlez assured readers that the mission of the newspaper will remain the same – providing quality news coverage to the communities they serve – but how they will fulfill that mission will change.
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While that mission hasnt changed, we are seeing shifts in how our readers are engaging with this valued content. More and more of our customers are reading our local journalism online. This is not only a trend in Miami, it is a media industry trend, and in fact, all industries, said Marqus Gonzlez.
While a printed newspaper once was the sole means of accessing news and information, we now offer many different ways to connect with the Miami Herald beyond print – on our miamiherald.com website, on mobile apps, on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and through video and newsletters. These digital platforms are accessible wherever you go and whenever you want, Marqus Gonzlez added.
Other McClatchy newspapers are making similar moves in 2020. Here are some of the newspapers who will be terminating their Saturday editions:
– The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington
– The Olympia, Olympia, Washington
– The Fresno Bee, Fresno, California
– The Modesto Bee, Modesto, California
– The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
– The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina
In its third quarter earnings report released on November 13, 2019, McClatchy announced it plans to cut Saturday editions of all of its 30 publications in 14 states by the end of next year.
“We are seeing wide acceptance of digital Saturdays among our subscribers in the markets where the change has been implemented and/or announced, and in those markets where implementation has occurred, we are seeing an accelerated conversion to our digital products. We expect to expand digital Saturdays to all of our markets during the course of 2020 as we advance toward our digital future,” said Craig Forman, McClatchy president and CEO.
While Forman may be encouraged by growth in digital subscribers, the company is in serious trouble. For the third quarter, the company reported a net loss of $304.7 million, and its stock value had dropped to $0.40 per share as of 1 p.m. EST on December 24. In addition, McClatchy is on notice from the New York Stock Exchange that it needs to turn things around to avoid being delisted. On September 9, NYSE American sent a letter to McClatchy advising them of their noncompliance of listing standards relating to stockholders equity. The company has since submitted a plan to regain compliance by March 9, 2021, and NYSE accepted their plan on December 13.
If McClatchys newspaper readership – including that of the Miami Herald – is, indeed, gravitating toward digital versions of its newspapers, reducing days of the printed newspaper will help the company cut some overhead. However, if they are truly expanding content, not reducing it, those cost savings will be limited and not likely to significantly reduce losses like McClatchys huge third quarter loss. The company is in serious financial trouble and is ripe for a takeover. Following the recent completion of the GateHouse-Gannett merger, an acquisition of McClatchy by another newspaper group could create another large newspaper conglomerate, changing the face of newspaper publishing and journalism coverage.