Paducah, Harlan, Middlesboro change publication schedule

Harlan, Middlesboro drop Thursday edition; now 4 times per week

Yesterday, March 2, was the last Thursday edition of the Harlan Daily Enterprise and the Middlesboro Daily News. Group publisher Bill Sharp announced earlier this week that the two sister publications in Bell and Harlan counties would make the move and become a four-day-per week daily. They will be the only four-day publications in the state.

According to KPA Bylaws, any newspaper published four or more times per week is considered a daily newspaper.

Harlan and Middlesboro will now publish on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays.

Paducah Sun to drop Monday print issue, publish it online only; Monday Sun will transition to online

By JIM PAXTON, Sun Editor and Publisher

For most of its life The Paducah Sun was a six-day newspaper. That was the case when I came to the Sun in 1986. We delivered the newspaper in the afternoon Monday through Friday. There was no Saturday paper and our largest edition of the week was delivered on Sunday mornings.

As young people do, I pushed for change. And there was reason for change. Cable news channels were moving the world toward a 24-hour news cycle. Malls and big box retail were changing people’s shopping habits. Newspapers across the country were finding morning delivery better served readers and advertisers.

So we went morning. And while we were at it we added Saturdays, becoming the only seven-day newspaper in Kentucky west of Owensboro. Saturday wasn’t just a perk. It made financial sense. There was demand from readers and advertisers, to which we responded.

Three decades have passed, during which the world has not stopped changing. The emergence of the internet and e-commerce have dramatically changed the retail and newspaper landscape.

For the better part of a generation newspapers have suffered from a Monday hangover. Sunday is a party — the heaviest advertising day of the week by far. We sell more papers on Sunday, and readers have more time to spend reading them.

But Monday and Tuesday suffer. There’s plenty of news and sports to report, of course. But advertising has become increasingly thin prior to mid-week.

Our company, Paxton Media Group, publishes more than 30 daily newspapers in medium and smaller markets.

The vast majority of those newspapers dropped Monday publication a decade or more ago. More recently that trend has moved into markets of our size.

Today The Paducah Sun is the only seven-day paper remaining in our region. The Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau dropped its Saturday edition several years ago. Last summer the Southern Illinoisan, which serves the Marion-Carbondale market, dropped Monday.

Beginning March 27, The Paducah Sun will follow suit — to a point. We will not print a Monday edition. But we will produce one, in both digital and PDF form, and all of our print subscribers will have access to it.

Many of our online customers prefer the PDF format because it can be downloaded to an iPad or Kindle and read page by page like a regular newspaper. Our Monday PDF product will include news, sports, obituaries, comics and the other content normally contained in our Monday print editions.

We will continue to staff our newsroom as normal on Sundays, taking obituaries and covering local news and sports.

This change does have the benefit of giving our press, production and circulation staff a reliable day off. We suspect the independent contractors who provide papers to you will likewise appreciate having one day to call their own.

We recognize this change will not sit well with some readers. Change never does. But this is the model that best fits the Paducah market in the here and now, and it does allow us to continue to cover and report the news seven days a week. We also plan significant upgrades to our internet edition later this year — a topic for another day.

We thank our readers for their continued loyalty as we evolve to meet these changing times.

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