By: Jennifer Saba
The Wisconsin State Journal in Madison is planning to reduce the number of sections on certain weekdays.
In a memo memo posted on Romenesko, Managing Editor Tim Kelley informed staffers that beginning on Monday Aug. 4 and for the rest of the Mondays that month, the paper will run only two sections. The first section will consist of local, national and international news and the second section will be made up of sports and classifieds.
“The two-section approach will reduce the overall number of pages printed without substantially reducing the newshole,” Kelley wrote.
If the trial goes well, the paper might extend the concept to the Tuesday and Wednesday editions.
Wisconsin State Journal Editor Ellen Foley told E&P that the move will strip out about 4 pages a day. The revamped editions will run from 36 to 40 pages.
Foley said the move was to save money and to tighten up the paper. It costs the Wisconsin State Journal additional money to run the presses, which are about 30 years old, past a 40-page press run.
The paper will lose some newshole (52% of the average edition consists of advertising) but Foley said they will be much more “efficient” with the space by eliminating filler stories and some promotional advertising.
The Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday editions will be made up of four sections.
When asked whether they considered dropping some days of the week, Foley said, “everybody is thinking about everything now but for our market that is a mistake.”
The Wisconsin State Journal picked up many of the print readers who took its sister paper The Capital Times in Madison, which ceased producing a daily edition and instead publishes mainly online. “We converted 90% of those readers,” Foley said.
The State Journal and the Capital Times is operated by Capital Newspapers, which is owned by Lee Enterprises and the Capital Times Co.