Falling on hard financial times, the Albuquerque Journal is canceling distribution of its paper to more than 30 New Mexico towns including Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari.
The paper will terminate home delivery and rack sales in outlying communities on Jan. 31 because of falling advertising revenue and rising production and shipping costs, according to Albuquerque Publishing Company General Manage Brian Fantl.
The daily will be available online and can be delivered by mail, said Fantl.
“We hate to do this, the Journal’s circulated in every city in the state for years and years, and this is just a move caused by the down economy,” he said.
The situation at the Albuquerque Journal is not unique. Soft ad revenues and rising cost of newsprint, utilities and labor has curbed the circulation of daily newspapers nationally.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and the Amarillo Globe-News have also ceased home deliveries in the region.
The Detroit Free press in December cut its home deliveries to three days citing a slow economy. In the same month, the Tribune Co. which publishes 10 newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Closer to home, Freedom New Mexico halted home deliveries of the Quay County Sun on Jan. 3. The company also publishes the Clovis News Journal and the Portales News-Tribune.
Freedom New Mexico is also increasing the price of its Clovis and Portales papers’ Sunday editions from $1 to $1.25 to offset expenses, according to Publisher Ray Sullivan.
“We are looking at every aspect of cost control at Freedom New Mexico newspapers now as we did in 2008. And we’ve been able to trim a lot of costs without really drastic cuts that we’ve seen in papers around the country. We’re happy about that,” he said.
But Sullivan said the need for information will carry newspapers through the economy, though they may take different forms.
“The sky is not falling on newspapers, the sky is expanding in our delivery platforms. We are changing our business models day by day,” he said “That’s exciting, it’s frustrating at times and worrisome at times. The fact is, we will survive, adapt and be a stronger media company.”
Newspapers cutting or halting home deliveries in eastern New Mexico
Albuquerque Journal: Jan. 31
Lubbock Avalanche Journal: Dec. 22
Quay County Sun: Jan. 3