MDR stays Committed to print

Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette explained the newspapers recent decision to stop daily delivery in Malvern and Hot Spring County at the Malvern  Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.
By: 
Gretchen Ritchey
Editor

The Malvern Daily Record has been serving residents in the Malvern and Hot Spring County community with daily news for 103 years.
These are difficult days for newspapers, many have closed its doors while others have changed platforms and provide only digital content.
The Malvern Daily Record remains committed to its print product, although if does offer its daily paper as an internet eEdition for those who wish to view daily news via internet.
Recently the statewide, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette decided to take its daily delivery of newspapers to the Malvern/Hot Spring County area in a different route — online only.
Many throughout Malvern and Hot Spring County have mixed emotions about the change to digital. Some weren’t sure they were going to like the change, because “there’s something about holding a newspaper in my hand” said one customer — others welcomed the change.
According to Walter E. Hussman Jr, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspapers began a major decent in 2000 when the Worldwide Web became popular. “This allowed everyone to talk to one another throughout the world,” said Hussman during a presentation at the Malvern Rotary Club on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.
According to Hussman in 1980, 31 percent of all advertising revenue in the U.S. went to newspapers but that number dropped to 22 percent in 2000. Although 22 percent was still enough to keep newspapers in the positive.
After 2000, Hussman said the Associated Press began selling its news content to Google, Yahoo, etc. which were giving away the content for free as a way to bring in more online traffic to its site.
Fast-forward a few years to 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone.This gave way for faster, more convenient ways to receive free news content.
In 2018, 13 years later the total advertising revenue for newspapers has dwindled to a mere 5 percent.
Eighty percent of a newspapers revenue is from its advertising sales. When revenue is cut by 75 percent, newspapers take a hard hit — many just cannot survive.
This lack of revenue forces newspapers to cut costs by cutting employees, cutting circulation areas, cutting size of product — increasing subscription rates is one way many have tried to recover lost revenue.
Hussman said that recent research showed that in 2008 there were 71,000 newsroom employees across the country and in 2017, that number has fallen to 39,000.
According to Kelly Freudensprung, publisher Malvern Daily Record, there is no immediate plans to change the Malvern Daily Record from its daily print product. “We are committed to our print product,” said Freudensprung.
Hussman said the Democrat-Gazette has recently come up with a digital replica of its newspaper. He said this can be read using an iPad or other tablet.  The Democrat-Gazette has implemented the new digital replica format in more than 30 of the 75 counties in Arkansas and will no longer deliver its print product to the Malvern/Hot Spring County area as of March 10, 2019.
“When only the elite have access to information because it is not freely available, will all suffer,” said Danna Carver.

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