By: Joe Strupp
Less than three months after The Capital Times in Madison, Wis., dropped its daily print format for a Web-based report, another Wisconsin daily is following the trend.
The 5,500-daily circulation Daily Telegram in Superior announced Thursday it would move to a Web-based reporting approach, while offering a print product just two day per week.
“We see a lot of our readers migrating to the Web, we see that growing every month,” said Ken Browall, publisher. “Economics is another piece of it. We have seen declining revenue, we are not immune to it.”
Browall declined to reveal how much the Web-based move would save.
The Daily Telegram, owned by Forum Communications of Fargo, N.D., had not decided when the move would occur, but Browall said it would likely be early September. He also said the two days of the week for print publication had not been chosen, or the size of the print product.
“We will talk to readers and advertisers about what are the best two days,” he said. “We will look at what will work most, and when, when meetings are held and other news events.”
Editor Ron Brochu could not be reached for comment.
The afternoon paper currently publishes every day but Sunday, when the sister Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune is distributed to its readers. The paper has about 39 employees, with nine on the news staff.
Browall said no cutbacks in staff are expected. He said the paper’s Web site, www.superiortelegram.com, is currently a 24-hour site, but will likely expand more with the change.
“We have reporters now who do things on the weekend and after hours,” he explained. “We’ve got a small staff, so we cover everything we can as it happens.”
In a story on its Web site announcing the change, the paper stated: “Following a growing trend in the newspaper industry, The Daily Telegram will refocus its emphasis toward Internet publishing, company executives said today.
“The twice-weekly Telegram will remain a paid circulation newspaper. Internet publishing has grown in popularity as traditional print advertisers have gradually moved to the newer medium. Meanwhile, print advertising revenue has declined nationwide, and newsprint costs have grown. This year, the revenue stream has been particularly weak as the struggling economy, poor credit conditions and slow hiring has hurt traditionally strong classified advertising customers in the automobile, real estate and help wanted sectors.”
The Capital Times drew national interest in April when it dropped daily print publication for a Web focus, offering two weekly print products in its place. Browall said the Madison move slightly influenced his staff’s decision.
“We looked at a lot of alternatives,” he said. “Going tabloid, free distribution, and this was the best option.”
Ironically, the Daily Telegram Web site was hit with a major slowdown today, which Browall attributed to a server problem across many Forum outlets. “It hasn’t happened very often, so I am surprised,” he said of the Web problems. “I am sure it is not because of the story we put up about ourselves.”