Friday, August 7, 2020
Aug. 7, 2020

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From the Newsroom: Frequent questions answered

By , Columbian Editor
Published:

It has been about a month since we dropped the Monday print edition, and a while longer since we changed some of our columnists, and I am still getting questions from readers about these moves. Let me begin by reiterating that cost savings were the primary factor behind all of these decisions, and then I will try to address the specific questions that seem to crop up. If you have a follow-up question for me about these changes, or any other subject, please send me an email at craig.brown@columbian.com and I will try to answer it.

Why don’t you print the Monday puzzles and comics on Sundays instead of Tuesdays?

We buy all of our puzzles, comics and other features from news syndicates. These syndicates have a lot of customers around the world. To keep it fair to all, the features are embargoed until their release date. We can’t publish the Monday features on Sunday without breaking the embargo. If we deliberately broke the embargo, the syndicate likely would drop us as a customer.

What happened to Carolyn Hax’s advice column and Michelle Singletary’s personal finance column?

We dropped both of these after their syndicate demanded a substantial price increase and barred us from sharing them with our online audience. We need to continue to grow our online audience, so this felt like we would be paying more for less. Furthermore, we were already getting columns on these topics that we were not printing. So this decision keeps us from creating a dysfunctional relationship with online customers and makes better use of our money. I think Hax and Singletary would agree with that!

I realize there is no more printed and delivered Monday paper, but can I go online to see a Monday edition?

Unfortunately, no, we are not producing a Monday paper either in print or digitally. (This is different from The Oregonian, which produces a Monday online edition and sells printed copies on newsstands.) It would take several people to put out a Monday digital edition, and if we did that, we would have to pull them away from their current duties. I personally don’t think it is worth it to dilute our offerings the rest of the week to offer a Monday digital-only paper.

Does that mean that you don’t put out any news on Sundays?

We are still posting breaking news to our website on Sundays. For example, we had the news of Kobe Bryant’s death on our site within five minutes of the time The Associated Press and CNN confirmed the death. Last weekend, our on-call editor posted multiple reports after three fatal car crashes occurred, and an off-duty sports editor posted the Super Bowl story just a few minutes after the Chiefs came from 10 points behind to win. We are auto-posting nonbreaking news throughout the day Sunday, including some longer stories not appearing in print.

Why aren’t lottery results or the West Coast NBA and NHL scores in the newspaper on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays?

We moved some of our press times earlier three days per week. Unfortunately, this means we don’t get the lottery results in time for Page A2 or late scores for our Sports section. You can see them online that evening, or in the following day’s paper. It’s an inconvenience, I admit.

Will election results still appear in the next day’s paper?

Yes; we will authorize staff overtime as necessary to make sure our print readers receive complete election results. The next election is Tuesday, so if you live in Vancouver, Battle Ground, Hockinson, Washougal or Woodland, be sure to vote.

Are you expecting to make any other changes?

We need to be ready to react to trends in our business, particularly the continued loss of print advertising revenue. But we think the changes we have made already will set us on a course to remain Clark County’s best source of news and information for many years to come.

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