Starting in late January, readers of The News Tribune of Tacoma and its sister publication, The Olympian, will have to do without paper editions on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the McClatchy Company, which owns The News Tribune and The Olympian, announced it will cease their Saturday print editions on January 25.
Instead, readers will get an expanded “weekend edition” on Friday that carries additional features such as comics and a regular paper on Sunday–but only digital news in between.
The staff at both newspapers will still be “working 24/7, just like it always does,” said McClatchy spokesperson Jeanne Segal. “But if [readers] want to read the news from those newspapers, they’ll go online to get it.”
The changes in Tacoma and Olympia mirror similar moves at 19 other McClatchy-owned papers, including the Tri-City Herald, which will start “digital Saturdays” in November, and the Bellingham Herald, which began in July. The company runs 30 newspapers across the nation.
The moves respond to “shifts in how our readers are engaging” with the newspapers, according to a front-page statement by Rebecca Poynter, who serves as publisher for The News Tribune and The Olympian.
They also follow recent cost-cutting moves by McClatchy, which announced plans to trim its Tacoma workforce by 67 starting in February 2019 and put its old State Street building on the market. Segal was unable to provide the current number of news staffers at either The News Tribune or The Olympian.
Globally, many newspaper and magazine publishers are agonizing over the future of their print operations, which are costly to run but are often valued by older readers — and the advertisers who want to reach them.
Segal said McClatchy’s decision was driven mainly by changes in reading habits, and noted that The News Tribune’s Saturday edition already has more digital readers than print readers.
As McClatchy has ended Saturday print editions at other newspapers, starting with The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the company has found that many former print readers migrate online, she said.
“We’re going to a digital future,” Segal said. “So it’s a good trend.”
There are still some holdouts, however. Although most of McClatchy’s Northwest newspapers will be digital Saturday by January, no firm plans have been announced for The Idaho Statesman. “They’re printing seven days a week in Boise,” Segal said.
The story has been updated with the correct number of layoffs planned for 2019.