Digital only subscriptions are expensive for us, so we are charging more to offset that.
The biggest cost in publishing a newspaper is paying people to research, report, and edit the news. That’s the same whether you read us on paper or online.
Print advertising, however, makes a huge contribution to supporting those costs. Traditionally newspapers got 80% of their revenue from print ads. For many papers, dailies especially, those profits are long gone, eaten up by Facebook and Google. Filling the gap with online ads has simply not worked for any newspaper anywhere. So we and others are trying to find creative ways to do more with less.
One strategy is to go fully nonprofit and online only. We thought of doing that, but decided there are already so many nonprofits on the Outer Cape it made more sense to create a sustainable business. Even if we were to go online only, the savings in not having to print and mail the paper would not be anywhere near enough to make up for the loss of print advertising revenue.
If all that changes, we are open to evolving. But for now we’re OK with needing to favor print. After all, we like getting off screen for some of our reading, and we have heard from many people who say they do too. This seems especially sensible for a weekly.
Is publishing online instead of on paper greener? It’s not clear. Some say materials extraction for electronics and disposal of the devices are just beginning to be understood and may be even more unsustainable than paper that is produced in managed forests and recycled. We are using the USPS for delivery.