The Solano County/Fairfield (California) Daily Republic is adjusting to economic realities:
It costs a great deal of money to report, write, illustrate, design and ultimately pull that local news and information together for each day’s print edition. The changes we have made – and continue to make – keep the focus on what’s local. As such, money spent on external content is the first to shift as economic needs dictate (emphasis added).
The lion’s share of the newsroom budget represents the people who work each day to bring you news and information that’s relevant to the community. Payroll costs continue to outpace growth in the local economy. Many factors come into play there: the annual increase in the minimum wage, which drives up other costs; a significant spike in paper costs due to tariffs on Canadian newsprint; and yearly double-digit increases in health care premiums for employees, to name some of the more significant.
So naturally comic strips are first to feel the pinch:
Sunday’s print edition saw the final week in which we will publish two pages of color comics. We’ll offer one page of color comics this coming Sunday. We’re also reducing the number of daily comics to match the number we will publish each Sunday. That begins with this day’s print edition.
People love their comics. I get that. But licensing for the comic strips is expensive. These changes alone save an estimated $18,720 a year in licensing fees, the vast majority of which for comic strips that are no longer produced fresh each week either because the artist has died or has retired. Those that remain are among the best of the newer generation of comics that have wide followings, although some are by no means new (emphasis added).
Also noted is that the change enables the paper, which is published Wednesday – Monday (no Tuesday edition), to once again publish the Tuesday installments of the strips they continue to carry.
This change allows us to bring the reduced roster of daily comics that would typically publish in a Tuesday print edition, back to the Monday print edition.
Until earlier this year the Monday edition had carried an extra page to print the Tuesday comics.
My last copy of the Daily Republic is from 2016, at that time they carried three rerun strips, seven legacy/zombie strip, and seven comics still being done/having input from the strips’ creators. There is a chance that I can get a new issue soon, if that happens I will update.
Edited to add:
The November 21, 2018 (Wednesday) edition of the Daily Republic carried six comic strips:
Pickles, Zits, Pearls Before Swine, Baby Blues, Dilbert, and Baldo covering 1/3 of a skinny (10½ inches wide) broadsheet page.
Two years earlier the Daily Republic of September 23, 2016 (Friday) carried 16 comic strips:
B.C., Garfield, Sally Forth, Blondie, Rose Is Rose, Wizard Of Id, Frank & Ernest, Beetle Bailey,
Classic Peanuts, Get Fuzzy,For Better or Worse (sic), Pickles, Zits, Baby Blues, Dilbert, and Baldo
covering most (ad taking up the area of 2 comic strips) of a skinny (11 inches wide) broadsheet page.
I note the “skinny” broadsheet because once upon a time newspapers were of a size.