I've heard a believable news tip that the Statesman Journal will cease being a print publication in January 2019. So it now longer would be a newspaper, but a newsonline -- since an electronic publication would continue to be sold.
Reportedly some reasons are that millennials aren't reading the Statesman Journal, and substantial increases in the subscription price of the print newspaper have resulted in a declining subscriber base.
I've written quite a bit about the sinking fortunes of the Statesman Journal. Here's a sampling:
Statesman Journal outrage: New subscribers charged half of what loyal subscribers pay
Cancel your Statesman Journal subscription for 30 days to save $500 a year
Breaking news: Michael Davis is out as Statesman Journal executive editor
Salem Statesman Journal -- the incredible shrinking newspaper
Ugh! My review of new Statesman Journal web site
Truth Bomb #8: the Statesman Journal is trying to trick Salem
Layoffs at Statesman Journal tied to worrisome "Gannett" newsroom of the future
Truth Bomb #1: The Statesman Journal newspaper is failing Salem
How will Gannett restructuring affect Statesman Journal?
My wife and I enjoy reading the print newspaper every day, so we'd be sad to no longer be able to hold it in our hands. What's worse, this probably would herald the end of the Statesman Journal entirely.
Advertising in an electronic newspaper seemingly would be considerably less attractive to local businesses, so advertising rates likely would decline. And many readers who don't enjoy reading a newspaper online would cancel their subscriptions.
Now, if the Statesman Journal does go under, this would be a loss for Salem, but not a huge loss -- given how far the paper's journalistic standards have sunk.
There's very little local reporting compared to years gone by. (I've been a Statesman Journal subscriber since 1977.) What local reporting exists is generally "frothy," without a whole lot of substance. Coverage of Salem politics and goings-on at City Hall is virtually non-existent, giving readers additional reasons to stop their subscription.
Further, subscription rates are controlled by out-of-town executives with the Gannett Corporation/USA Today. So the Statesman Journal isn't able to control its own future in that regard.
And the paper's web site is horrible. It's a clone of the same Gannett web site design used by the other newspapers in the chain. I subscribe to the online versions of the New York Times and Washington Post, so can say from much personal experience that the Statesman Journal rates a "2," with the Times site being a "10."
If this rumor is true, and the Statesman Journal ceases its print publication in 2019, I've got mixed feelings.
As noted above, I like being able to hold a local paper in my hands. However, there's so little content that I care about in today's Statesman Journal, my hands don't hold the paper for very long most days. If the Statesman Journal went completely out of business, there'd be some chance that a better journalistic alternative would spring up.
Anyway, we'll have to wait and see.
Will the Statesman Journal survive? I'm betting that it won't, unless the newspaper somehow can break free of its Gannett Corporation chains and return to being a genuine local news outlet that people care about and find value in.
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