Business Brief: Emphasizing digital, Vineyard Gazette ends Tuesday print edition

The Vineyard Gazette offices in Edgartown is expected to be a bit quieter this summer following the decision to cease publication of the seasonal Tuesday edition.
File photo by Susan Safford

The Vineyard Gazette offices in Edgartown is expected to be a bit quieter this summer following the decision to cease publication of the seasonal Tuesday edition.

The Vineyard Gazette announced Friday that it will discontinue its Tuesday print edition. The decision is rooted in the Edgartown broadsheet’s increasing emphasis on its digital product, the paper’s publisher said.

“The Tuesday paper has a long and distinguished history and has had a great run, but today we have other ways to more rapidly deliver our unique brand of community journalism,” publisher Jane Seagrave said in a front page story headlined, “Goodbye, old friend; Gazette to discontinue Tuesday print edition.”.

Gazette publishers Henry Beetle Hough and his wife Elizabeth Bowie (1920-1965) inaugurated the twice a week summer publishing schedule in June 1929, to provide more frequent updates for readers and advertisers, a decision that mirrored the growth of the Island as a summer resort, according to the Gazette.

Ms. Seagrave said the change was made after consulting with a sample of the paper’s advertisers and vendors. The Gazette also reported several new web-based initiatives that include email newsletters sent out to readers on Tuesday and Friday mornings. A paywall, which limits access to subscribers for most stories in the newspaper’s digital edition, will be reinstated in June when the newsletters are launched, Ms. Seagrave said.

The Friday print edition will continue to be produced at the newspaper office in Edgartown in its traditional black-and-white broadsheet format. The look of the Friday newspaper represents the one constant at a newspaper that has experienced significant changes in ownership and leadership over recent years, including an infusion of off-Island talent.

In November 2010, former publisher Richard Reston sold the newspaper to Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg, longtime seasonal residents who live in Mt. Kisco, New York, for $3.5 million.

Mr. Kohlberg is a financier widely acknowledged as a leveraged buyout pioneer, first with Bear Stearns and later Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts. Mr. Kohlberg later founded his own investment firm, Kohlberg & Company, now run by his son and headquartered in Mt. Kisco.

In March 2011, the Kohlbergs announced that they had hired Ms. Seagrave, a former New York business executive with the Associated Press (AP) who had played a key role in the news cooperative’s focus on digital revenue, to be the newspaper’s next publisher.

She and her husband, John H. Kennedy, a former Boston Globe reporter and journalism professor whose byline now appears in the Gazette, relocated from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, to the Vineyard.

In January 2012, the Gazette announced it had hired former Los Angeles Times science and medicine editor Joel Greenberg as its new managing editor. Mr. Greenberg departed less than one year later.

In October 2012, the Gazette named arts and features editor Bill Eville, a former vice president of film and television development for Sonnenfeld/Josephson Productions, a division of the Walt Disney Company, managing editor.

The Gazette’s focus on the digital side of publishing comes against the backdrop of a slide in print circulation figures.

According to the Gazette’s most recent required, official postal service statement, published October 5, 2012, a slight increase in newsstand sales was offset by drops in on-Island and off-Island subscriptions over the previous 12 months.

The Gazette’s total, average, paid on-Island circulation, including subscriptions (1,926) and newsstand sales (3,018), was 4,944 copies over the past 12 months, a decrease of 491 copies compared to 2011.

Off-Island subscriptions totalled 3,486, compared with 3,589 in 2011.

Total distribution, including newsstand sales and subscriptions was 8,472, compared with 8,569 in 2011.