Mad Magazine makes changes

Starting this fall, Mad Magazine will no longer produce new content outside of end-of-year specials, NPR and others reported.

Mad will carry flashback and best-of material beginning with issue No. 11, NPR reported.

The issues will have new covers.

The magazine will no longer be available on newsstands. It will be available through subscriptions and at comic books stores, NPR said.

DC Comics is publisher of the magazine.

Mad had around 140,000 subscribers two years ago. It had more than 2 million at its high point in the 1970s, according to NPR. The publication is nearly 70 years old.

Katy Times to stop print paper

The Katy Times (Texas) is ceasing publication of its print paper as of July 25, the paper’s president announced on the paper’s Face-book page.

The post said financial difficulties were behind the change. The paper is operating at a loss, the post said.

The paper plans to keep publishing its website, katytimes.com, the magazines Fulshear Living and Katy Today and other specialty magazines, according to President Clyde C. King Jr.

Texas-based Hartman Newspapers owns the paper.

Around seven full-timers are employed at The Katy Times, according to Claire Weber Goodman, the paper’s managing editor, the Houston Chronicle reported.

chicago defender drops weekly print

The Chicago Defender is stopping print publication. The Chicago-based African American paper will continue in digital format, parent Real Times Media announced. The last weekly edition was set to hit newsstands July 10. The brand planned to begin publishing daily content related to issues most pressing to the African American community in Chicago on July 11 at www.chicagodefender.com.

The move to digital was additionally prompted by data showing that the vast majority of Chicago Defender readers already consume its content on digital platforms, said a news release from Real Times Media.

“We love creating a printed product. In fact, our newspapers in Detroit and Pittsburgh continue to perform well, so we still believe in the power of print. But in Chicago, it is just no longer the best way to get our readers the stories they want,” said Hiram E. Jackson, CEO.

The brand will continue to highlight pivotal moments via special print editions, the release said.

The publication will retain its existing editorial and management staff and continue to offer its Men of Excellence and Women of Excellence events and activities surrounding the Bud Billiken Parade.

Real Times Media has plans to continue digitization and licensing of the Chicago Defender archives via partnerships that will generate significant revenue for the brand through 2029, the release said.

Maui News drops sunday print, launches Weekender

The Maui News (Hawaii) printed its last Sunday edition June 30, Maui Now reported. On Saturday, July 6, the paper was scheduled to start producing a new print edition dubbed The Weekender.

“The best things from our Saturday and Sunday editions will be combined in The Weekender as the newspaper switches to six-day delivery,” the paper said.

“We are very excited to showcase The Weekender. It will be filled with content that is unique and important to our readers,” said Joe Bradley, publisher of The Maui News.

Ogden Newspapers owns the Maui News.

Youngstown Vindicator to cease publication

The Vindicator (Youngstown, Ohio) will cease publication at the end of August, the paper’s publisher and general manager announced.

“Due to great financial hardships, we spent the last year searching for a buyer to continue to operate The Vindicator and preserve as many jobs as possible while maintaining the paper’s voice in the community. That search has been unsuccessful,” wrote Publisher Betty H. Brown Jagnow and General Manager Mark A. Brown in a June 28 note to readers. “It is with broken hearts that we say goodbye and a final thank you,” they wrote. The note thanked readers, advertisers, carriers and staff.

The paper has seen four generations of Maag-Brown family ownership.

The note detailed efforts made to save the paper, including attacking expenses with the cooperation of the paper’s staff and unions, investing in new presses to become more competitive, raising the price of the newspaper. The paper continued to operate at a loss, the note said.

Reading eagle sale closes; more than 80 jobs

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MediaNews Group’s purchase of the Reading Eagle Co. (Pennsylvania) was complete at the end of June, Reading Eagle staff was informed, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

MediaNews Group, which does business as Digital First Media, is purchasing Reading Eagle for $5 million after the Reading Eagle filed for Chapter 11 protection in March. MediaNews Group was the only qualified bidder, the paper reports.

MediaNews Group has extended job offers to 125 staff members, and 111 said yes to the offers, according to the paper.

In mid-June, Reading Eagle Co. had 195 staff members, officials said, the paper reported. In March, the company had 236 full-time and 20 part-time workers, according to the paper.

A Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification, or WARN, notice sent to the Pennsylvania state Department of Labor and Industry said 81 employees would lose their jobs, but the figure is now 84, the company said, according to the paper.

Reading Eagle Company has the Reading Eagle, the South Schuylkill News, Pretzel City Productions and its printing subsidiary REP, and WEEU 830 AM.

Pennsylvania-based Twilight Broadcasting is buying WEEU's federal broadcasting license and will lease its broadcasting facility and towers, according to Twilight General Manager Todd Adkins, the Eagle reported.

ebony, Jet cutt employees; archive to be auctioned

Ebony and Jet magazines cut the editorial employees that remained at the publications, the New York Post reported. The company did not make payroll in May, the Post says.

Seven employees lost jobs, the paper reported.

Austin, Texas-based Clear View Group, a private equity firm, bought the publications from Johnson Publishing in 2016. Both Ebony and Jet had previously abandoned their print editions and were solely digital.

Meanwhile, photos from the Ebony magazine archives went on auction in July, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Included in the archives are well-known pictures of Emmett Till, Malcolm X and others.

U.K.’s JPiMedia closing publications

The U.K.’s JPIMedia is closing ten publications, according to HoldtheFrontPage.

To be closed are paid-for weeklies the Morley Observer and Advertiser, Epworth Bells, Tyrone Times, Hawick News and Selkirk Weekend Advertiser. Also to be closed are the free Worthing Advertiser, Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra, Hayling Islander, Portsmouth View and Wharfe Valley Times.

The closings come on the heels of recent confirmation of the closings of U.K. titles The Buteman, Bucks Advertiser and Thame Gazette. No jobs were lost with those closings, according to HoldtheFrontPage.

Boston Globe expands Rhode island coverage

The Boston Globe is expanding its Rhode Island coverage, the paper says.

Three Providence journalists are now officially a remote part of the Globe’s newsroom, Nieman Lab reports.

“We saw opportunity in Rhode Island where quite honestly great newspapers like the Providence Journal were seeing significant cuts and that market is particularly engaged in news. We saw the opportunity to create a digital regional enterprise by heading down there and hiring local reporters,” Globe editor Brian McGrory said, according to Nieman Lab.

“The intention of the Globe, and definitely my intention, is to tell more of the (Rhode Island) stories and tell different stories. It’s not to hurt the Journal,” said Amanda Milkovits, according to Nieman Lab. She is one of the journalists tasked with covering Rhode Island for The Globe. Milkovits was with the Providence Journal for nearly 20 years, according to Nieman Lab.

Mcclatchy drops saturday print at two papers

McClatchy is putting two additional papers onto its “Digital Saturdays” plan, which drops the Saturday print edition and results in digital-only journalism on that day, Poynter reported.

The Durham Herald Sun (North Carolina) and the Bellingham Herald (Washington) planned to cease Saturdays print editions starting the first week of July. They join the Myrtle Beach Sun News (South Carolina), which stopped its Saturday print in April.

“You’re going to get all the same content that you got before,” said Sara Glines, McClatchy’s Carolinas & East regions president and publisher. “You’re just going to get it in a different way.”

Extra comics and puzzles will show up in the Friday and Sunday print papers. The Saturday e-edition will include more international, national, sports and entertainment material than the Saturday print edition had, according to McClatchy, Poynter reported.

Members approve plan to consolidate sNPa, inland

Members of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the Inland Press Association have approved a plan to consolidate the two associations, effective Oct. 1.

The balloting began on June 7 and ended June 28.

"The new association will provide a strong voice for newspapers, promote the indispensable value of newspaper journalism to local communities, and support newspapers as they adapt their business models to a quickly changing landscape," said a statement from Edward VanHorn, executive director of the Atlanta-based Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.

The makeup of the new association’s board and officers will be evenly split between Inland and SNPA members, according to a news release from Des Plaines, Illinois-based Inland.

The new association will be incorporated in the District of Columbia.

The Inland and SNPA foundations will stay independent of the new association.

A search has begun for the chief executive of the association, the Inland release said.

Hearst Magazines launches product sample ad unit

Hearst Magazines is launching Sample Ignition 360, which gives consumers free samples of products when consumers provide their email address and shipping information, Digiday reports.

Hearst is partnering with a company called SoPost in the effort. Hearst is relying on its own Instagram and Facebook followers in the effort.

“Rather than hand the leads off to the advertisers, Hearst packages and ships the products to the customers directly” and, if the advertiser wishes, Hearst again contacts the sampling consumers by email, asking for opinions and seeing if consumers will write reviews the companies can utilize, Digiday wrote.

Concerning the cost of Ignition 360 ads, Hearst said it charges a price per lead, rather than a CPM (cost per impression). The cost varies based on certain factors. Digiday said.

Last year, Hearst began letting advertisers put surveys in the body of articles, and affiliate commerce has been part of Hearst’s strategy for quite some time, according to Digiday.

GateHouse Media cuts jobs in restructuring

GateHouse Media cut jobs around the country May 23, Poynter and others reported. The number of positions affected is unclear, according to Poynter, but a count from journalist Andrew Pantazi puts the number at more than 150.

“We are doing a small restructuring — at least that’s what I would call it — that I’m sure will be misreported. We have 11,000 employees. This involves a couple of hundred,” Mike Reed, CEO of New Media Investment Group, told Poynter analyst Rick Edmonds. New Media Investment Group is Gate-House’s parent company.

Reed said that of the around 200 affected employees, most “are moving from non-reporting to reporting jobs,” Poynter said.

Reed told Poynter the number of news staff being downsized is “more like 10.”

“But numbers far exceeded 10 when journalists impacted took to social media and reached out to Poynter,” Poynter said.

Among affected organizations were the Columbus Dispatch, Providence Journal, Tuscaloosa News, Herald-Journal in Spartanburg (South Carolina), Peoria Journal Star (Illinois) and Rockford Register Star (Illinois), according to Poynter.

In a memo given to Business Insider by staff at the Worcester Business Journal, GateHouse CEO Kirk Davis mentioned “sizeable reductions to staff.”

“I don't take these reductions lightly; many committed colleagues, who played important roles in our company, were impacted,” he wrote.

After the Business Insider article, Mike Reed sent a memo to GateHouse employees calling the article “misleading” and saying “nothing is more important to our future than preserving high quality local journalism,” Business Insider said.

WsJ: Merger talks between Gannett, GateHouse

USA Today publisher Gannett and GateHouse Media have talked recently about joining forces, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. A merger of the two would pair the country’s two biggest newspaper groups.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that Gannett has held talks with Tribune Publishing and McClatchy about possible deals.

USA Today also reported on talks. The companies named in the reports declined to confirm the reports.

Gannett recently fought off a takeover attempt by MNG Enterprises, owned by New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Gannett CEO Robert Dickey retired in spring and Gan-nett has not named a replacement.

If Gannett and GateHouse merge, around one of every six dailies in the country would be owned by one company, Ken Doctor points out in his Newsonomics column for Nieman Lab. He uses the term megaclustering.

“If — a big if — this chip falls into place, then the Consolidation Games will move into a next round. Might then McClatchy and Tribune — having found little other companionship on the mating market and the bar closing soon — restart talks that failed in December? And what about Alden?” Doctor writes.

Mozilla gets into news subscription game

Mozilla is testing a $5-a-month test subscription service for news, PCMag and others reported.

Mozilla, developer of the Firefox browser, is launching the service in partnership with Scroll, which describes itself as a consumer service powering an ad-free web that funds essential journalism.

The service will provide subscribers with ad-free articles from publications that are partnered with Scroll, PC Mag said. Among the publications are USA Today, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Gizmodo, Slate, SBNation, Eater, Jezebel, Deadspin, Vox and The Verge.

Subscribers also get access to audio versions of articles, bookmarks that are synced across devices, exclusive top recommended reads and an app that helps subscribers find and finish great content, all without advertising, according to Mozilla.

“The online advertising ecosystem is broken,” said a February blog post from Firefox's product lead Peter Dolanjski. “The majority of digital advertising revenue is going to a small handful of companies, leaving other publishers with scraps. Meanwhile users are on the receiving end of terrible experiences and pervasive tracking designed to get them to click on ads or share even more personal data.”

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