Changing Times

Gary L. Wood

For almost 159 years, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan has served area readers with news and information about their world, and we certainly intend to do that for many, many more years to come.

Today, however, we have to announce a change that we have contemplated for some time, and it’s a move we don’t take lightly or gladly. It’s been a very difficult decision to make.

This is the final Monday edition of the Press & Dakotan. This newspaper, which has published six days a week since the 19th century, will convert to publishing five days a week — Tuesday through Saturday — starting next week.

This move is a reflection of changing times in the print industry. As newspapers continue to expand their digital presence to meet the demands of an online age, our venerable print editions have been forced to change their focus.

One “problem child” in all this change has been the Monday edition. For many newspapers across the country, it has become a difficult sell in terms of both circulation and advertising.

So it has been here. We’ve tried some different tactics to remedy this matter, including the launching three years ago of an “all local” Monday edition filled with local content and features. Unfortunately, it simply hasn’t been enough.

Meanwhile, we’ve also seen what has happened at other newspapers. In the past couple years in South Dakota, at least three other daily newspapers — in Aberdeen, Mitchell and Rapid City — have reduced publishing days. It has gotten to the point where the Press & Dakotan is one of the last six-day daily papers left in the state; in fact, the P&D currently prints on more days of the week than the Rapid City Journal does.

Frankly, this reduction idea has been on our radar for more than a year, and it has been difficult to contemplate. We were resigning ourselves to make this move sometime later this year, but the swift and dramatic fallout of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit all of us terribly hard, has forced our hand.

Also, while our costs have risen through the years, the Press & Dakotan has not instituted a subscriber rate increase for the past decade. We have worked hard to make the paper as affordable as possible to generate readership and to serve our advertisers.

And so here we are. We are making this very significant and very difficult decision after a lot of thought and a lot of agonizing.

However, while it is a big move, it’s not an apocalyptic one.

We are still committed to bringing you the best news product possible, with a news staff that has garnered countless awards through the years and is devoted to serving our customers.

Meanwhile, our online product continues to thrive, racking up roughly 1 million page views per month. While the internet age has unquestionably been a major competitor to print products, our web presence remains a strength with ever-growing reach. We will continue to offer you news online even on those days when we don’t publish a print product. We are now aiming to expand it a bit to continue to provide you with timely information.

On this note, we should also tell you that we will likely go to a paid format for our website — most likely a metered paywall, which gives readers a certain number of free views per month before a subscription fee is needed — in the near future. But this is not the time to do that amid the current financial uncertainties.

Please know that we are making this move to solidify our product and to put ourselves in the best position to serve you going forward. We are still here to inform you about your daily world. We truly appreciate your loyalty and your business, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to continue to be your best source for local news, views and sports.

(1) comment

Dakotastorm

Very sad 😔Feel bad for the seniors that don't go online or have the modern technology to do so . They look so forward to that morning paper 😔

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