Waco Tribune-Herald Replaces Comics With Puzzles

The Waco Tribune-Herald informed readers of major changes coming:

In two weeks the Tribune-Herald will roll out a complete overhaul of our daily comics and puzzles pages, as well as our Sunday comics section. Readers tend to react passionately when we change mainstays in the paper, so consider this a heads-up.

We’re shifting our focus from traditional black-and-white comic strips to more puzzle-centric pages. The number of daily comic strips will shrink from 18 to 10 [emphasis added]. We’re adding Boggle BrainBusters, Scramble Grams and Kubok 16, a numbers puzzle, to our Sunday pages as well.

As is common these days the editor touts their digital first efforts.

The Trib by late 2023 will become a majority digital newspaper in terms of subscriptions. We will have more digital-only subscribers than we do print subscribers. Likewise, a rapidly increasing share of the Trib’s overall revenue comes from digital sales. Both revenue streams are growing extremely fast as our company, Lee Enterprises [emphasis added], continues to evolve as a digital-first local news company.

Andrews McMeel Syndication (AMS) gets the blue ribbon in the winner-take-all comic competition.

Andrews McMeel Syndication will be our exclusive source for all Sunday and daily comic strips, starting on Sept. 13. AMS (formerly known as Universal) has the largest inventory of comics among the remaining syndication services, and online readers of the Trib will have access to all them, every day (more than 450 panels and strips). We’re also adding comics pages to our e-edition six days a week, and extra Sunday comics pages online. That’s where you will find “Dilbert,” by the way.

Rest assured, reducing the number of comic strips we publish daily is a big step. It won’t be easy saying goodbye to some of the long-running strips. Fortunately, some of the classics will remain, like “Peanuts,” “Baby Blues” and “Garfield.” There will also be some new strips replacing those we’ve published for a long time.

If this is a company-wide move on the part of Lee Enterprises,
and there is no indication it is (yet), AMS gets a nice slice of the pie.

Tribune Content Agency takes the puzzles prize:

Our daily puzzle offerings will come from Tribune Content Agency. The daily and Sunday crossword puzzle will remain, but it will be the Los Angeles Times version. Jumble and sukoku will still be there as well, as will the horoscope and advice columns. Phillip Alder’s daily bridge column, however, will end Sept. 12. The location of the daily horoscope will move from our classified section to its news home on our daily comics and puzzles pages.

Blondie © King Features Syndicate

More information next week.

Next weekend we will detail the changes so readers can see exactly what is staying, what new is coming and what is leaving our daily comics page. Blondie is one I’ll probably miss the most.


© G. B. Trudeau

In other Lee Enterprises newspaper news, they have redesigned their opinion pages.

Lee Enterprises, which owns The Roanoke Times, has begun producing national opinion pages and distributing them to all of its newspapers. These pages are assembled by Lee Enterprises National Opinion Editor Scott Milfred, who also doubles as opinion editor for the Wisconsin State Journal. Milfred has emphasized a policy of maintaining balance across political spectra.

One result in The Roanoke Times is cutting the Sunday Doonesbury:

Though we will drop the Sunday Doonesbury cartoon…