Eagle publisher responds to Syracuse.com story

And our journalists, at the core of it all, this year earned numerous well-deserved awards from the Syracuse Press Club and the New York Press Association. Their work is an incredible service to these communities and, for the most part, is unavailable in any other publication. Journalists are the heart of the newspaper, and we have some great ones.

In short, we are providing strong local news coverage to a greater audience and providing our advertisers with more bang for their buck.

But as I said at the top, there are tough realities as well.

In 2003, Eagle Newspapers launched The City Eagle, and we have made every effort to provide residents of the city of Syracuse with a publication that offers a community newspaper feel with an alternative viewpoint from our competitors. The Eagle, as it became known, has had its ups and downs, but despite some strong editors at the helm, it never really hit home with advertisers. Despite losses in every year but one, we kept the publication alive for nearly a decade, mainly on my hopes that it would turn around. It never did.

After initially believing we could reduce costs and still maintain a presence with The Eagle, a closer look at the finances showed our cuts were not deep enough. Considering any and all alternatives, we decided last week to suspend publication of The Eagle. That decision led to a second layoff, in addition to a staffer that was laid off two weeks ago.

Suspending a publication affects thousands of readers, dozens of advertisers, and most heart-wrenching, the journalists who we must let go. It is the most difficult thing a publisher must do, but at times, it is the only choice left.

As Syracuse.com correctly reported, this decision will allow us to focus even greater energy and resources on our historically-strong suburban publications. Although the Syracuse.com headline is a bit misleading, it is true that we are “eyeing” all our publications – we are eyeing them to determine the best means of expanding circulation, strengthening news coverage, and providing great response for our advertisers. And we will continue to do so for decades to come.

David Tyler is the publisher of Eagle Newspapers. He can be reached at dtyler@eaglenewsonline.com.

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