Manhattan Mercury newspaper to go to 3-day-a-week print schedule
MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - In what is being described as a cost-saving measure, the Manhattan Mercury newspaper will be going to a three-day-a-week print schedule starting next week.
Ned Seaton, Mercury publisher and editor in-chief, said this week that the newspaper will be printed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays each week.
At present, the Mercury is printed five days a week.
Seaton made the announcement Monday on the newspaper’s website, www.themercury.com.
“It’s pretty simple,” Seaton wrote. “We have to cut expenses. If we don’t, we won’t be able to continue to provide the service that we exist to provide.”
When the change is made, Seaton said, the Mercury’s print editions will be delivered by U.S. mail. The newspaper, which “will no longer be delivered by our own carrier force,” is expected to arrive by mail the day of publication, Seaton said.
Though the print edition will be printed on two fewer days a week than is the case at present, Seaton said “we are actually publishing more news, and publishing it in a more timely fashion, than ever before. The level of service we provide, as a local news enterprise, has never been higher. We have a way to deliver that service to you immediately, at no additional cost to you, and at a relatively low additional cost to us.”
That delivery method, he said, is the internet. He noted that “we’ve been evolving in this direction since 1996, when we launched TheMercury.com.”
On days when there is no print edition, “we will still be publishing news,” Seaton said. “We will deliver it to subscribers’ email addresses, similar to the way we have delivered the print edition to people’s physical addresses for generations.”
The print subscription price will remain the same, he said, “which is less than a dollar a day, less than half the cost of a cup of coffee.” Print subscribers can sign up for full digital access at no additional cost. Lower-cost options are available for digital-only subscriptions.
He said the coronavirus pandemic “slashed” the newspaper’s advertising revenues. He noted advertising revenue had already “dwindled” over the years, “sucked away to the coasts by internet giants Google and Facebook, and, in a different way, by Craigslist.”
He said because of local family ownership, the newspaper was able to survive decreased advertising revenue while sustaining its newsgathering operations.
“But the pandemic has dramatically accelerated those trends,” he said, “and we don’t expect things to change back.”
Seaton noted other newspapers have taken similar steps, including one in Stillwater, Okla., which made the move to the same three-day-a-week publishing schedule a few months ago.
“Our goal here at The Mercury, as it really always has been, is to serve you well,” Seaton wrote. “What we hope, more than anything, is that you’ll continue to value the service we provide, whatever form that service happens to take.”
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