It’s an exciting time for us at The Daily Iberian and at Acadiana Lifestyle as we prepare for a move in late June or early July. Our parent company, Wick Communications, has sold our building and purchased a beautiful building at 124 East Main St. We are very busy packing and redoing (for the 20th time!) a floorplan for our new offices. We will be smack in the middle of our beautiful downtown, we’ll have new neighbors, and we couldn’t be happier.
Isn’t it just like life that, with the joyous times, come the times when you have to make difficult decisions. I’ve written several times about the challenges that come with keeping your local newspaper healthy and thriving. Advertising dollars continue to migrate online, as do readers, and our industry hasn’t yet discovered the magic solution to monetizing our content on the web.
Unfortunately, producing local content doesn’t come cheap. We are very lucky that we continue to be as strong as we are — since 2004 more than 1 in 5 local newspapers have closed. The problem, especially in a market of our size, is that smaller communities are much less likely to see a digital start-up come in to fill the void created when newspapers are shuttered. We call these markets “news deserts” — communities that lack a local source of information about civic life and culture. And study after study confirms that local government efficiency deteriorates, political engagement dies, and government debt increases in news deserts.
As we face economic pressures, we have several options. Many newspapers, including The Daily Iberian, have eliminated staff in the past. The problem with this, other than the heartbreaking aspect for all involved, is that our content suffers. We’ve increased subscription prices before and we are still by far the most affordable local newspaper, but we have many readers on fixed incomes who depend on their paper, and I do not want to ask them to pay an increase.
I did a little research, and found that we are the only newspaper in Louisiana in a market our size who still publishes a Monday newspaper. I took a close look at several Monday newspapers from the past few months, and made the hard decision. The fact is that our Monday newspaper is by far our weakest effort.
We have decided to eliminate the Monday print newspaper effective July 1. I did not make this decision lightly, because I build my Monday morning, like many of you, around my coffee and newspaper. But when I weigh the options, it is the right thing to do. You will get breaking news and updates on our website just as you always have. Our pledge to you is that we will take the resources, both human and material, that went into producing the Monday paper, and make the remaining five days stronger.
Again, this was not an easy nor quick decision, and I welcome your feedback. Please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 337-321-6727. As always, thank you for reading.
CHRISTINA PIERCE is publisher of The Daily Iberian.