The Trib likely alienated many readers by having two very left-wing editorialists churning out columns daily. The Daily News, as I have repeatedly pointed out, allows for anonymous and unmoderated venomous comments on its online edition.
The City of Pullman's contract with the Daily News requires that they maintain a Pullman office. Now that that is gone, will they continue the contract? What will happen to the coverage of Pullman and WSU issues? God knows the Evergreen gave up on covering Pullman about a year ago.
UDPATE: From today's Daily News:
"We will continue to have an office in Pullman," Alford said. "Pullman and greater Whitman County are an essential part of our readership area. It will remain an essential part of our focus and a top priority for news coverage.From today's Lewiston Tribune:
Tribune, Daily News announce cost-cutting measures
Drop in ad revenue, rise in cost of materials create financial strain; Trib
editorial writer Tom Henderson is leaving
The Lewiston Tribune and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News are losing five positions as the newspapers face softening advertising revenue and increases in the cost of materials.
Changes that will be most visible involve the reduction of the Tribune's editorial writing staff from two to one with the loss of Tom Henderson and also the closure of the Daily News office in Pullman. Henderson will be moving to Oregon.
Other jobs being cut include the Tribune's newsroom librarian, a position in production at the Tribune, a clerical position at the Pullman office of the Daily News and a customer service and circulation position at the Daily News, said Wayne Hollingshead, chief operating officer of Tribune Publishing Company Holdings, which operates the two newspapers.
Management tried to choose reductions that would have the least impact on the papers' ability to gather news and sell its product, Hollingshead said.
But A.L. Alford Jr., editor and publisher of the Lewiston Tribune, said the choice to reduce staffing for the editorial page, which has had two full-time editorial writers since the 1970s, was "the most difficult" and fell short of the goal of not affecting the news product.
The Tribune is one of the few and possibly the only newspaper of its size in the country that has two full-time editorial writers, Hollingshead said.
Some of the cuts were made through early retirements and not filling positions that were vacant, Hollingshead said. The five positions represent a fraction of the 139 full-time and 59 part-time employees at the two newspapers.
One position that is not affected is that of the Tribune's political reporter. Dean Ferguson is leaving the Tribune to work as communications director for Larry LaRocco.
LaRocco is running for the U.S. Senate seat that is now held by Larry Craig, who is retiring. Ferguson's position will be filled later in the year.
The challenges that prompted the changes reflect the national downturn in the economy, Alford said.
The weakness didn't hit the Tribune and Daily News as early as the Spokane and Seattle areas, Alford said.
The Seattle Times announced it was cutting 200 jobs on Monday.
"Fortunately our nonmetropolitan newspapers have a more favorable situation and outlook than the metropolitan media," Alford said.
Radio and television are working through the same kinds of issues, Hollingshead said. "The first thing to cut is advertising. They cut that and then they start worrying about where is my business."
The cost for the paper that the newspaper is printed on, postage and mileage are all increasing, Hollingshead said. "Anything that we buy that is petroleum-based has just gone through the roof."
Those costs are rising at a time when the papers are paying for a new press and are in the final year of repaying a loan that helped buy the papers back from Kearns-Tribune Corp. in 1998.
"The one-time expenses here are not the issue," Hollingshead said. "It's really the ongoing things that caught us by surprise."
The decision to invest $12 million in a new production center was made in December 2006 and the newspapers wouldn't "be brave enough to proceed" with the plan if it were made today, Alford said.
The newspapers still stand to gain from the new press, which will be operational in June, Alford and Hollingshead said.
One of its advantages is that it will bring "terrific reproduction," Alford said.
The newspapers also expect it will help the bottom line by reducing waste and creating a new stream of revenue by printing specialty publications, Hollingshead said.
Downturns in the economy such as this are ones the papers have weathered about six times since 1968 when Alford became editor and publisher, with the most recent being in 2002, he said. "I have optimism about our region's middle and long-term economy."
The Tribune and Daily News are going to be fine, Hollingshead said. "We're going to do everything we can to continue to produce great newspapers."