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Duluth News Tribune to cut print production to twice a week

Lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic is to blame.

As newspapers continue to struggle under the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duluth News Tribune announced Wednesday it will begin publishing only twice weekly.

Rick Lubbers wrote in a column for the publication that advertising revenue, already on the decline, had suffered during the pandemic. Without enough subscriber and ad revenue to continue to support the current model, the paper made the decision to cut its print production effective July 8.

The paper will print on Wednesday and Saturdays, with Saturday’s paper featuring content similar to the traditional Sunday paper.

This isn’t the first change the paper has made to adapt to new challenges caused by the pandemic. In April, the paper reduced the size of its print product.

“We had hoped that difficult decision would be the only one to make. Sadly, it wasn’t,” Lubbers said.

The change also means papers will be delivered by mail rather than a carrier force, which will be eliminated. Online publication will still continue throughout the week, including an electronic version of a physical paper available to subscribers.

“It’s delivered early each day, is easy to page through and enlarge, resembles the printed newspaper and contains more news content than we are able to currently print in the physical paper,” Lubber said.

The Duluth News Tribune isn’t the only Minnesota newspaper to face challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hastings Star Gazette and the Bulletin of Woodbury and Cottage Grove announced they would shut down last month. Meanwhile, the Lakeshore Weekly News and the Eden Prairie News ceased publication April 30.

The changes follow a national trend for newspapers. According to Forbes, newspaper revenues have dropped between 20 percent and 30 percent during the pandemic. 

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