This morning, for the first time in decades, there was no morning print edition of the Lenoir News-Topic.
Several dozen regular readers are not taking it well.
We dropped a day of publication as a way of cutting expenses, but we also are trying to make something good out of it by adding pages to the Sunday paper, which actually is going to come out Saturday night. Our first “weekend edition” is eight pages fatter than the usual Sunday edition had been (which was just 18 pages).
We began a PR push on the change two weeks ago, including two front-page stories explaining the changes. But at least some people apparently didn’t realize that “we’re combining the Saturday and Sunday editions” means that there will now be one edition instead of two.
And most of the comments reflect one of the biggest problems newspapers face: Many people don’t think the economy or the rules of business apply to newspapers, and they have no clue how little of the cost of producing newspapers is covered by what they pay to buy one.
And that is the industry’s own fault. You can’t spend decades practically giving the paper away for free in order to attract more advertisers and then expect people to understand that they have never really been paying the cost of the product.
The newspaper industry’s “original sin” was not giving away content online for free, it was giving content away for nearly free in print for over a hundred years before the Internet was even invented.