South Bend Tribune To Shift To Mornings p.10

By: Mark Fitzgerald INDIANA'S LARGEST EVENING paper is going to morning publication this summer.
The 80,675-circulation South Bend Tribune will mark its 125-year anniversary by moving to an a.m. publishing cycle sometime this summer.
Tribune executives say the switch is part of a recent series of changes in the paper that includes the introduction of a new Michiana edition, more and redesigned sections, a new Dewar front-end system and conversion in circulation from a drop system to distribution warehouses.
"We realize . . . going a.m. is no magic bullet," said David Ray, vice president of planning and development. "We realize we have to provide the content people want."
That's reflected in the continuing promotion during the yearlong 125th anniversary celebration, managing editor Tim Harmon said.
"We're trying to incorporate [a.m. conversion] into a general campaign of letting people know how we've improved the paper," Harmon said in a telephone interview.
Harmon said the paper was impressed by research showing that, nationally, a third of single-copy buyers of morning papers read it at night. Surveys of South Bend Tribune readers also showed acceptance of an a.m. conversion, Harmon said.
In a column announcing the conversion to readers, Harmon said going mornings gives readers more options.
"A morning paper lasts all day," he wrote.
Reader reaction has been fairly low-key with perhaps 70 callers divided roughly equally for and against the change, Harmon said. Not surprisingly, the biggest reaction has been among carrier families.
Right now, the paper has a carrier force of both youths in and around South Bend and adults operating motor routes in the county delivery areas, said vice president Ray.
The conversion to a distribution warehouse circulation system will be in place well before the a.m. switch, Ray said.
"Though we're not discouraging youth carriers, we anticipate many [who remain] will be teenagers with cars," he said.
# Editor & Publisher n January 25, 1997


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