Sometimes we have to make hard decisions


Newspapers have long been the fabric of many communities. Papers report on the birth of children, the lives they lead and even their deaths.

Council meetings, church services, school awards, arrests – newspapers cover pretty much everything.

For decades papers also had plenty of extras, like comics sections and TV guides. They were cheap to produce and gave readers a real premium. Plus, back in the day there was hardly any other place to get your TV listings or to see comics.

Well, times have changed.

I remember when I went to work in the corporate editorial office for a very large newspaper company in 2011. One of my early assignments was too look at how much comics and TV listings were costing the company.

I am not exactly Capt. Spreadsheet, so this took me weeks and weeks to complete. Ultimately, the savings the company could have by dropping comics and TV guides were huge. It was decided that individual newspapers could make the decisions, and most cut down on comics and got rid of TV listings.

Why? To save money. Newspapers were once a very profitably business. But the days of large profit margins are long over. A spike in the price of paper alone has killed many newspapers. More than one large newspaper company I used to work for are now no longer in newspapers at all.

Another reason papers have dropped TV listings is that you can find them in seconds on your phone. Yes, most TV services have a guide that will tell you what is on and what is coming, but this information is also available online.

Printing a listing of TV shows costs newspapers paper, ink and manpower. Those are some heavy costs, quite frankly. Especially for something that you can get very quickly on a handheld device.

We at The Life were faced with the decision to cut some costs and drop our TV pages recently and made the decision to drop them. Yes, we should have given our readers some notice, but there was simply no time. We had to let our syndicator know and we chose to go forward without the TV pages.

I personally know it is a problem for many of our fantastic readers, and I am sorry for that. You have reached out to us in calls and through letters. In fact, you have reached out with many, many calls.

We do appreciate your feedback, seriously. If we had received zero feedback, I would have been concerned that no one was reading the paper! I know that is not the case, but it is crystal clear that many of you enjoyed the TV pages. I wish we had been in a situation to give you a head’s up.

But that would not change the fact that our business environment is changing, and to survive we must change with it. That is Business 101. We have to make hard choices, like any business.

The good news is that you can find what you need as far as TV listings go elsewhere, more so now than ever before. Also, our paper is still providing the community information that our readers want. And we will continue to do so.