Free Press makes strategic changes, will still publish every day


first_imgFree Press Media,by Kevin Kelley. The Burlington Free Press has no plans to scale back its publication schedule despite offering readers a Thursday-Sunday subscription package, publisher James Fogler says.‘Other papers may do that, but it’s not going to happen in Burlington, Vermont,’ Fogler declared.‘Part of our strategy to grow readership is to focus on key days of the week,’ he said in December 2 telephone interview. The paper attracts fewer readers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday than it does on the other days of the week, he noted. ‘Our goal is to increase readership on the days that are already key.’Fogler also expressed confidence that the paper will retain many of those readers who subscribe on a seven-days-a-week basis. ‘They’re loyal. They’ll stay with us,’ he said.A full week subscription to the paper costs $15 a month. The Thursday-Sunday delivery package is priced at $10 a month.The Free Press stopped producing its Business Monday section in August and moved that content to the Thursday paper. The switch also involved the addition on Thursdays of features and reader-written essays on the theme of innovation. The rescheduling reflects the paper’s effort to heighten the appeal of its better-selling editions, Fogler said.The decision to create a Thursday ‘innovate’ section also comes in response to ‘the business community telling us to do a better job of local coverage,’ Fogler added.The paper will continue to publish its print edition seven days a week even as it seeks to expand gains made in visits to its web edition, the publisher said. He did not divulge specific numbers for either print circulation or visits to the Free Press website.An independent blog that monitors the Gannett Corp reported in September that average weekday circulation of the Free Press had fallen 31 percent during a five-year period. Weekday sales averaged 47,155 in 2005 compared to 32,504 in 2010, according to blogger Jim Hopkins’ analysis of Gannett data.The Free Press’ drop was more than the 27 percent average circulation loss for Gannett’s 81 local dailies.Fogler did say that ‘print circulation is down for us, as it is right across the board.’ The Free Press’ decline, however, is ‘not as much as others are experiencing,’ he added.The recent decision to end anonymity for those commenting on stories on the paper’s website has had a positive effect, Fogler said. Fewer readers leave comments than when their identities could be disguised, but the change has encouraged more civil discourse and should actually have been implemented much earlier, Fogler said. Comments may now be left at its Facebook page. www.facebook.com/bfpnews(link is external)last_img

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