Jun 01, 2012 David Tyler Uncategorized
In the past month, we at Eagle Newspapers have put ourselves under the microscope, as every business does when times are tight. This self-evaluation has led to some wonderful discoveries as well as a greater awareness of some tough realities. And it has caused us to take necessary action, which has been publicized and speculated upon on Syracuse.com.
In the last 12 months, we have dramatically increased circulation of most of our suburban weekly publications. The Cazenovia Republican and the Skaneateles Press are now delivered into every home in their respective communities. The Star-Review and the Eagle Bulletin now offer free, three-year subscriptions, and circulation of those newspapers has increased rapidly. As we continue our circulation push, we expect to soon be publishing an unprecedented number of newspapers each week in those communities. Expanded circulation plans are in the works for the Baldwinsville Messenger and Eagle-Observer for later this year and into next year.
We’ve also launched some very successful new products since the beginning of last year. Syracuse Woman Magazine, which we publish in partnership with Rochester Woman Magazine, was launched in January 2011 as a bi-monthly and was so successful, we moved to a monthly schedule in March of this year. Our new ExploreCNY magazine hit newsstands and homes this spring to great response from readers and advertisers. Our summer edition will be available on June 13.
Most print media companies have struggled with the migration to the web, and we are no different. But last year, we launched new websites corresponding to each of our print publications under the umbrella of eaglenewsonline.com. The response from both readers and advertisers has been solid. We immediately saw a steep incline in our traffic and digital revenues have been on the rise ever since, as has our following on Facebook and Twitter.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.