Reacting to a continuing trend in the news industry, The Columbian announced Friday that it will discontinue publishing one edition per week, reduce staff and implement other programs to reduce its operating costs.
The changes were announced by Publisher Scott Campbell to staff and to the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, which represents hourly newsroom employees.
The final Monday edition will be published Jan. 6. Although there will not be a print paper on Mondays, other daily editions of the newspaper will be enhanced, and regular Monday features, including comics and puzzles, will continue to be printed. Breaking news will continue to be published seven days per week on The Columbian’s website, www.columbian.com. Print subscribers can get unlimited free access to The Columbian’s digital products. Visit www.columbian.com/digital and www.columbian.com/ePaper to set up your accounts.
“Although regrettable, eliminating the Monday publication will save substantial costs, give our contracted carriers a well-deserved day off per week, and not greatly impact our local journalism,” Campbell said.
Other newspapers have been eliminating one or more print editions per week to cut costs. McClatchy Corp., one of the nation’s largest chains, recently announced plans to discontinue Saturday publication at its properties, which include The News Tribune in Tacoma and The Olympian. And in Portland, The Oregonian has offered home-delivered newspapers only four days per week for several years.
Campbell said the plan to reduce costs has been in the works for several months and was not affected by the newsroom employees’ Oct. 31 vote to be represented by the guild.
As part of the effort to cut costs, about 10 percent of jobs will be eliminated. Some of the positions are already vacant, but there will be some layoffs. The job reductions will occur throughout all major divisions of the newspaper, which currently employs about 180. Affected employees will be offered a severance package.
Campbell said that making these changes will keep The Columbian on a solid financial footing, ensuring that Clark County residents will continue to receive strong local journalism from a family-owned newspaper.
“In my four decades as The Columbian’s owner and publisher, it has always been my duty to ensure that our company is managed sustainably so that we can maintain our strong journalism and our local, family ownership,” he said.
The Campbells have owned The Columbian since 1921. The Columbian is one of a handful of remaining locally owned, family run newspapers in the United States.