Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Going against the Trend: Oak Ridge, Tenn., Daily Abandons Sunday Edition, Replacing It with Expanded Friday Weekend Edition

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Going against the Trend: Oak Ridge, Tenn., Daily Abandons Sunday Edition, Replacing It with Expanded Friday Weekend Edition

Article excerpt

THE OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oak Ridger has abandoned its Sunday edition and replaced it with a greatly expanded Friday weekend edition.

Along with its Sunday paper, the Oak Ridger abandoned any pretensions of covering the world and refocused its identity as a strictly local paper, publisher Pete Esser said.

The 11,000-circulation afternoon Stauffer Communications daily Oct. 23 dumped the Sunday edition that it started in 1988. The Sunday Oak Ridger's circulation never surpassed the daily's.

Killing a Sunday paper goes against a long, continuing national trend in which Sunday circulation, and circulation growth, has surpassed weekday.

The paper made the about-face after realizing that it couldn't compete Sundays with the Knoxville News-Sentinel, which is based 20 miles east but has a high penetration in Oak Ridge, and larger metro papers.

In an odd quirk of newspapering, for readers in the market who want a full-service Sunday paper, the Oak Ridger has offered to deliver the New York Times or Atlanta Constitution. Between 150 and 200 Oak Ridge residents opted for one or the other, for $16.25 and $8.50 a month, respectively.

"There's no way on God's earth we are going to produce anything like a Sunday Constitution or Sunday Times," Esser said.

The move to a larger Friday paper, incorporating many features of the Sunday edition, was dictated by market studies showing that readers, many of whom do not work on weekends, wanted ads and community information before the weekend, Esser said. …

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