Democrat to change print edition format, features

Published 1:55 am Saturday, October 29, 2016

NATCHEZ — Beginning Sunday, The Natchez Democrat’s print edition will change its format and eliminate several syndicated features.

The changes are intended to reallocate space and resources to local news while reducing investment in non-local items.

Changes include:

  • Crime reports and courthouse records move to page 2.
  • Obituaries move to page 3.
  • State and regional news move to page 5.
  • Comic strips, TV listings and horoscopes will no longer be published.

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“The reasons for these changes are both structural and financial,” said Democrat publisher Kevin Cooper. “Structurally, we are moving news coverage into areas of the newspaper where they best fit. Our current format often causes us to split crime reports and obituaries, for example, and publish them across more than one page.  These changes help us correct that problem.

“Financially the features we are removing, most notably comics, are inordinately expensive as compared to the cost of other content. We continue to adjust to changes in retailing and advertising and the  elimination of traditional advertisers such as J.C. Penney and Kmart. We must constantly evaluate quality and cost of content and make necessary changes to continue delivering high-quality, local news to our community.  Delivering local news and doing excellent community journalism are our primary mission,” Cooper said.

“We realize this affects some long-time newspaper features but we have made the decision to invest in content readers tell us is desired and of highest value, to invest in local staff, as opposed to purchasing expensive feature content from a New York or Los Angeles based syndicate. As we make these changes, we encourage readers to call on us or write with questions or comments as we work hard to produce for Natchez the best community newspaper the economics of our community can support.”