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Ashland Daily Press reduces print run to twice weekly

By Ron Brochu, BusinessNorth

The Ashland Daily Press is cutting the number of its print editions published each week. The move comes about a decade after Forum Communications adopted a similar policy at The Telegram in Superior. During that time, numerous other newspapers have moved in part or in whole to offering their product digitally.

In a letter to the newspaper’s subscribers, the Daily Press said it will move news, special features and coupons into a newsprint edition that will be published on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver those hard-copy editions.

Owned by Adams Media Group, which also has a newspaper chain on the Iron Range, the Daily Press said online readership numbers suggest the majority of subscribers are viewing their news digitally via the Internet.

“We’ll provide print and digital coverage of mostly local news but our stories will be tailored to the way readers consume them – longer, in-depth stories in print, shorter, breaking stories with extras like photo galleries, podcasts and video online,” the Daily Press said in its letter.

It has been a costly year for newsprint publications. In January, they became the victim of tariffs on Canadian newsprint, which caused prices to spike up to 20 percent. Due to declining demand for newsprint, domestic papermakers already had curtailed their production, leaving publishers little alternative than to purchase from Canada. The tariff remained in effect until it was overturned Aug. 29 by the U.S. International Trade Commission. But there are no guarantees that papermakers will roll back prices to pre-tariff levels.

For many newspapers, however, the damage has already been done. Some closed while others cut spending in a variety of different ways, including reducing their print days. In July, for example, Pittsburgh became the largest U.S. city not to have a daily print newspaper when the Post-Gazette cut to a five-day print edition.