LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, long regarded as the state’s largest newspaper will reduce their printed product to a weekly publication according to sources familiar with the WEHCO Publishing family of newspapers. The news coverage will move to digital during the week, and print exclusively on Sundays for their readers. The changes are expected to take place by the end of 2019.
A former columnist for the paper posted on social media late Friday that the staff had been informed of the news earlier in the day.
The newspaper had around 192,000 daily subscribers according to a recent Wikipedia article, and some 284,000 subscribers for their Sunday edition. Publisher Walter Hussman recently said that he has invested over $12 million in the purchase of iPads, that will be given to those who subscribe.
The trend has continued across the state of Arkansas in reducing print publication or even closing newspapers altogether. In Magnolia, where Hussman owns and operates the Magnolia Banner-News, print publication was recently reduced to a weekly basis as well. In the communities of Hope and Arkadelphia, Gatehouse Media (parent company of Fort Smith’s Southwest Times Record) completely closed both the Hope Star and the Arkadelphia Siftings-Herald.
Hussman told Arkansas Money and Politics in a recent interview that the times have changed drastically for not only his business, but print publications across the country.
“People don’t realize how bad things are,” he told the magazine. “The newspaper industry in America is verging on total collapse … You’re going to start seeing more daily newspapers close. We’ve lost Arkadelphia. We lost Hope. I think we’re going to lose more,” Hussman said. “It’s a real challenge for the Democrat-Gazette, too. We’ve got to figure out a new business model because the one we’re on just is not working.”
The Democrat-Gazette recently began reducing daily print publication in outlying parts of the state, introducing the iPad program in a number of communities. Now, they’ll take the initiative statewide.
In addition to the Democrat-Gazette, Hussman owns Texarkana Gazette, the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record, the El Dorado News-Times, the Camden News, the Magnolia Banner-News.
There has been no official announcement by the newspaper.