CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — It appears time has run out in the effort to save a hometown newspaper.
In February, on life support, the Cedar Springs Post launched a GoFundMe drive in a last-ditch drive to remain open. This week, the publisher announced she’s pulling the plug.
That has loyal readers disappointed.
“I just like sitting and looking at my local paper,” said Caroline Mason as she picked this week’s edition of the Post from a paper box in front of the paper’s office on Maple Street in Cedar Springs.
For many in the community of 3,700, reading the Post is a weekly ritual.
“I like the local news that they have in it,” Mason said.
Since 1988, the Cedar Springs Post has printed what’s happening at City Hall and in the neighborhoods; the big events and the personal accomplishments. But this week’s headline signals an end to all of that.
There are other news sources available but Mason said they don’t offer what the Post does.
“Not the detailed local news. No, they don’t,” Mason said.
In a story titled “Good-bye Cedar Springs Post,” publisher Lois Allen wrote of the end and lamented the death of local newspapers.
“As hard as it is to close, we don’t want our readers to wonder, ‘Where’s the Post and why isn’t it here?’ So I’m letting everyone know. There will be no papers in our 60 plus newsstands, and no online version to view,” Allen wrote.
It’s a familiar story for newspapers big and small: Increased costs and decreased revenues driving publications out of business. In June, The New York Times reported that 2,500 newspapers have closed down in the U.S. since 2005. The trend is expected to continue.
The advertiser-supported, free-to-readers Post has a print circulation of about 3,000. Online hits account for about 10,000 reads weekly.
“There’s a battle going on. It’s a battle for your attention, your business and your money. So, there is no shortage of advertising, just in the local paper.
“People often say we should just charge for it, but it isn’t that simple. Postage for a year of mailing is over $40 now. Every publication, including cable, TV, magazines, as well as sporting events, even NPR, which is listener supported, need advertising dollars to survive. And we need it too.
“Expenses run about $3,000 weekly with payroll for five employees at around $1,500 or more depending on hours. Printing a 16 page paper is about $800 for 3,000 copies. Then there is insurance, payroll taxes, internet, phone, software, hardware, lights, heat, water bill and other misc expenses.”Lois Allen, ‘Good-by Cedar Springs Post’
The GoFundMe effort that was launched in earlier this year raised enough to keep the Post afloat for a while, but the money ran out. Allen wrote that the Post had just enough money in the bank to print this week’s edition. Next week is doubtful.
It leaves an information void for loyal readers like Caroline Mason.
“You wouldn’t hear much about local news and I enjoy this paper,” Mason said.
Allen told readers the paper’s legacy will be preserved, with copies of each edition over the last 34 years donated to the Cedar Springs Historical Society.