By: Joe Strupp
The 2002 Winter Olympic Games are still more than two months away, but The Deseret News in Salt Lake City is already getting ready to go for the gold. With its longtime plan of permanently switching to the morning cycle on hold, the News will temporarily publish an a.m. edition during the Games, according to Publisher Jim Wall.
Wall told E&P that the evening newspaper would publish about 10,000 copies of a morning edition for single-copy customers Feb. 8-24. Subscribers to the 66,804-circulation News (61,427 under the former Audit Bureau of Circulations rules) would continue to receive home delivery in the afternoon.
But moving the News to morning publication permanently is another matter. Under its joint operating agreement with The Salt Lake Tribune, the papers share ownership of three press lines through the Newspaper Agency Corp. The presses are used to print the Tribune in the morning and the News in the afternoon.
Although printing an extra 10,000 morning copies of the News for 17 days is not likely to jar the Tribune press run, Tribune Publisher Dominic Welch said printing the News entirely in the morning over the long haul would be difficult without adding a press. “They have the right to do it, but they would have to pay the cost of a new press,” he said.
A recent consultant’s review shows a switch to the morning cycle could boost News circulation by as much as 15%, Wall said, while efficiency improvements could save it up to $8 million annually.
But a News switch to mornings is not expected to occur until the legal battles among the News, the Tribune, and MediaNews Group Inc., which purchased the Tribune in January, are settled. That timeline is anyone’s guess.