Free 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)
There will be plenty of tension on the pitch in Sunday’s eagerly anticipated fixture.Barca will be keen to further cement their domestic hegemony over Madrid and extend their gap over them to 18 points, which would be the biggest gap they have ever held over their rivals.Zinedine Zidane’s side can avenge December’s humiliating 3-0 home defeat by Barca by snapping the Catalans’ Liga record of 42 games without defeat.Zidane has already angered Barca by declaring his side will not give the newly crowned champions a guard of honour before kickoff, a gesture the Catalans did carry out in 2008 when Madrid had won the title.Sunday’s game is also the first ‘Clasico’ since 2008 to take place after the title race has been decided.Real have had a disappointing Liga campaign and could finish third for the first time in four years. But their domestic woes has not stopped them from storming into the Champions League final with a 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern Munich. In contrast Barca crashed out of Europe to AS Roma in the quarterfinals.Madrid will play Liverpool in the final in Kiev on May 26, when they will be targeting a record-extending 13th European Cup. They will also be looking to become the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win the trophy three years in a row.Madrid captain Sergio Ramos believes winning Europe’s top prize again could trump Barca’s achievements on the domestic front.“Barca have had a great year, they have won two trophies and they deserve credit for that but winning the Champions League is equivalent to those two or even more,” Ramos said.He also confirmed his side would follow Zidane’s orders to deny their rivals a guard of honour.“What Zidane says is gospel. We’re making too much fuss out of all this. Barca have the title, which is what they wanted, but there will be no guard of honour, full stop,” he said.Elsewhere, Valencia can seal their return to the Champions League by clinching fourth spot if they win at local rivals Villarreal on Saturday.Getafe, Sevilla, Girona and Real Sociedad will continue to fight for seventh spot and a place in next season’s Europa League, with three points separating the four teams.Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna have already been relegated.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram La Liga and King’s Cup champions Barcelona will be flying high when they host Real Madrid on Sunday in the ‘Clasico’ but their arch rivals will be feeling equally smug after reaching the Champions League final for a third year in a row.After clinching a seventh league title in 10 years last Sunday, Barcelona’s only incentive is to finish the La Liga season without losing a game.Third-placed Real’s motivation, however, is to leapfrog Atletico Madrid, who hold a four-point advantage but have played one more game.