The Sand Mountain Reporter is adjusting its print edition schedule in response to the historic impact the COVID-19 crisis continues to have on the local economy, the newspaper and its many longtime business partners, owner Patrick Graham announced today.
Starting April 29, The Reporter will begin publishing twice a week with a new Wednesday edition coming out midweek and a weekend edition continuing to come out on Saturdays. The new schedule replaces the three-day-a-week print edition schedule previously in place at the paper.
The new Wednesday edition will provide readers with the very best of what the Tuesday and Thursday editions had to offer, Graham said, while at the same time providing advertisers with the most effective publication day of the work week to market their goods and services to the community.
Readers will also see more real-time, daily updates and local coverage through their 24/7 access to the paper’s website and social media platforms, he said.
“Like most businesses locally, the COVID-19 crisis has required us to consider and implement changes we didn’t even contemplate before the pandemic interrupted all of our lives,” Graham said. “This move is designed to put the newspaper in the best position possible to continue to serve readers and advertisers as we all navigate the new normal COVID-19 is creating for our community.”
In a newspaper’s business model, the majority of the revenue for the business comes from advertising sales, followed by subscription and single copy sales, and other sources, Graham said. With advertisers significantly scaling back or temporarily eliminating their budgets for marketing due to reductions in customer volume, he said the newspaper has made adjustments to match those changes in promotional spending by advertisers.
“We consider our advertisers to be our business partners, and the vast majority of them have been our very good business partners for a very long time,” Graham said. “Unfortunately, right now is not business as usual for many of them, and as a result, it’s not business as usual for us either.”
The Reporter is not alone in making these kinds of changes, he said. Newspaper companies across the state and country are adjusting print schedules in an effort to cut costs and increase efficiencies. Many have also reduced staff, some by as much as 40%, a move The Reporter has not made nor has plans to make at this time.
“Our employees are your friends and neighbors and ours,” Graham said. “We want to do everything we reasonably can to keep them on the job because it is important to them and their families, to the businesses where they spend their hard-earned wages, and to the readers, the advertisers and the community they serve.”
Now 65 years old, The Sand Mountain Reporter serves Marshall County and parts of Blount, DeKalb and Etowah counties in northeast Alabama, including the communities of Albertville, Boaz, Crossville, Douglas, Geraldine, Guntersville, Horton, Sardis City and others.
Founded by the Courington family in 1955, The Reporter was purchased by Southern Newspapers Inc. in 1999. Graham, who previously served as the associate publisher of the newspaper from 2000 to 2003, purchased The Reporter from SNI a year ago.
“The Reporter has been covering Sand Mountain for generations now,” Graham said. “With the help of our subscribers and advertisers, we are going to not only weather this pandemic storm, but we will continue to deliver the community’s best local coverage for generations to come.”