Tom Batiuk seems to be taking on the vultures capitalists feeding off newspapers.
The Crankshaft arc started last Monday (above) with hints and it seems out front with today’s strip:
Tom is known for being a year or two ahead of deadline, which would put this ahead of this year’s purchase of the Tribune properties by Alden, though it would be a bit after Tom’s local big city paper left McClatchy for the Gatehouse newsroom.
Earlier this year Tom used Crankshaft to deal with another newspaper issue.
A couple states south of Ohio is Chattanooga where the Times Free Press is planning to go Sunday only with the print edition in July 2022, leaving subscribers to read the Monday through Saturday newspapers on iPads.
A 152-year-old habit is hard to break. Starting in June 2022, the Chattanooga Times Free Press will stop the presses, except on Sundays. On the other six days, subscribers must adapt to an online format the newspaper describes as “enhanced content.”
The typeface can be enlarged with a pinch of the fingers. Some of the articles will include video, and color photographs. No more ink on your fingers, and no more stacks of recycled papers.
David Carroll reports that not everyone is on board with the idea,
though he hopes people will still support the paper in whatever form.
So why is my local paper shutting down the press six days a week? They hope a reduction in spending for ink, paper, and delivery will enable them to keep paying for journalists. They hope citizens will continue to support independent reporting.
Subscriptions were once an added bonus in its bank account, overshadowed by advertising revenue and “the classifieds.” Now, your annual contribution is its lifeblood.
So however you get your news, renew your subscription, and support the advertisers. If you ever lose your local reporters, you lose much more than a companion for your coffee. You lose oversight and accountability. When that happens, we all lose.
The Times Free Press, in association with WRCBtv, made the announcement earlier this month:
The Chattanooga Times Free Press will stop delivering newspapers, but it comes with an exception of the Sunday paper.
They’re hoping to turn readers to iPads.
The newspaper’s publisher has purchased thousands of iPads to give to subscribers who convert to a mostly digital format that will be available daily by 4:00am.
They started rolling out the iPads on Monday. DeLoach says around fifty subscribers have converted.
Clay Bennett is the editorial cartoonist for The Chattanooga Free Press.
In the future, will most local news outlets publish 24/7 online but put ink on paper only once a week, perhaps only on Sunday?
“In a lot of ways, the weekly newspaper may be the survivor,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of the Local Media Association. “[There is] a lot of talk about metro dailies and big dailies eventually going to one day a week and publishing on Sundays only.
Online “local newsletters” may be the future.
6AM City, a group of local newsletters based in Greenville, South Carolina, has been operating largely under the radar since 2016. It ramped up in a big way Tuesday, announcing plans to triple in size from eight to 24 markets by late this year.
It joins Axios Local and other players (Patch, WhereBy.Us) in the crowded local digital newsletter space, serving up a five-day-a-week mix of aggregated news, some original reporting, and supporting ads.
Axios Local, which launched earlier this year in six cities, itself plans to expand to 14 by the end of the year and 25 early in 2022.