Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Novato weekly newspaper folds

The Novato Advance, a weekly newspaper covering Marin's northernmost city for 86 years, announced today that it will cease publication on Sept. 25 due to a decline in advertising and rising expenses. Publisher Paul Hutcheson said the paper hasn't made money since 1999 despite both a print and online presence. Hutcheson posted a statement on the paper's Web site that said in part:
    "We have tried many different scenarios in an effort to stem the losses. In the last few years, in an effort to create a platform that would lead the paper to profitability, we increased the writing and reporting strength by adding editorial staff and additional columnists, increased advertising staff in an effort to sell additional advertising, created a Web site to drive additional readers and advertising revenue, created an automotive section to produce additional revenue, reformatted the paper’s layout into four sections for better 'readability,' sampled 3,000 copies of the paper weekly to different residences in an effort to increase circulation and updated the paper’s style on a regular basis. These changes resulted in many editorial awards by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Up to and including the highest award, 'General Excellence,' which the Advance won for four consecutive years: 2003 – 2006.

    "While these changes helped significantly reduce the losses, they have not translated into the additional advertising and circulation revenues necessary to bring the Advance into profitability.

    "Two additional contributing factors to our losses are the current state of the economy and Internet use as a source for news. The economy has forced retailers to cut back on advertising as they also struggle to increase revenue in the face of weak sales."

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