Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2018

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Vegas paper drops sections, not jobs

R-J’s move to cut costs follows price hike

Having just raised the newsstand price for weekday and Saturday editions by 50 percent, the Las Vegas Review-Journal announced Monday it has eliminated sections of the paper as a cost-cutting measure.

On July 1, the non-Sunday rack cost of the Review-Journal rose to 75 cents.

Beginning this week, the Review-Journal will stop publishing Living, its lifestyle and entertainment section, Mondays and Tuesdays.

The content of those sections will move to its Web site or to other parts of the paper. For example, the fifth page in Monday’s Nevada section, a local news section, was an entertainment page featuring local movie listings and a Nashville-datelined story about a country music duo’s new CD.

The paper also announced it is moving its Our Town page, which features local society news and meeting listings, to its weekly View community newspapers.

And what had been the paper’s Friday style and fashion section will be blended into an expanded Thursday section to be called Neon Thursday.

Review-Journal editors did not explain in their note to readers why they were shrinking the newspaper. But according to Review-Journal Publisher Sherman Frederick, the changes will save the paper newsprint costs and create efficiencies in the mailroom, where the parts of the paper are assembled for distribution.

“These are difficult times for all businesses in Southern Nevada,” Frederick said in an e-mail response to questions. “For newspapers, we feel the pain of an economic recession along with everyone else. In addition, the escalating fuel prices and cost of newsprint add to the challenge.”

Unlike that of most newspapers its size or larger across the country, the circulation of the Review-Journal has not been in a free-fall as of late.

The paper’s Monday through Saturday circulation grew 1.05 percent, to 174,095, in the six-month period ending in March, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The Review-Journal’s circulation on Sundays was down 2.26 percent, to 199,356. (The circulation for the Las Vegas Sun, an independently produced newspaper packaged with the Las Vegas Review-Journal under the terms of a joint operating agreement between the papers, is the same.)

Newspapers nationwide have been undergoing a transformation in the past several years — almost none of it for the better.

Younger readers are mainly getting their news from the Web. Advertising revenues have been dropping as fast as circulation. And the price of newsprint has been steadily marching upward.

Publishers have responded by slashing the size of their papers and jobs.

Veteran newspaper analyst John Morton said the Review-Journal’s moves to eliminate and combine sections to save money on newsprint costs weren’t surprising.

“Many newspapers are doing it these days,” Morton said.

Frederick said the Review-Journal is not expecting staff reductions through layoffs or buyouts, as many other papers have in the past few years.

According to Sun Managing Editor Michael J. Kelley, the changes at the Review-Journal will have no effect on the Sun.

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