Major changes are coming to the operations of the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, including a reduction in the number of daily print editions.
Word of the changes started making the rounds late Thursday, following a social media post by Jim Mortimore, Director of Operations, that staff had been officially notified that the paper, part of the Trails West Media Group under Lee Enterprises, would be reducing their print editions from six to three days a week. Following an inquiry from KNEB News, the paper published a story in their online edition by Western Nebraska Editor Joan von Kampen, confirming the print edition would be published Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, starting June 13.
von Kampen said “The new three-day print frequency certainly represents a shift in your newspaper experience”, but it would be an expanded version with more content, comparable to having a “Sunday reading experience”. She added that the E-edition would mirror the print edition those days, and on non-print days, the online edition would include the usual sections, but in a condensed version of their daily news reports. For years, the Star-Herald has been publishing a print edition Tuesdays through Sundays.
Meanwhile, Mortimore’s post continued that in addition to the publication changes, the production of the print edition, as well as inserts, would be moving to Rapid City, South Dakota. von Kampen’s article was mum on that subject, saying only that the newspaper “will transition from being delivered by a traditional newspaper delivery carrier to mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.”
Mortimore said after being on the job at the paper since August 1985, June 10 would be the last day for both he and his staff, and neither his post, nor von Kampen’s article, addressed production of any non-newspaper printing that may have been produced at the Scottsbluff location.
von Kampen explained as the communities served by the paper change, the Star-Herald is evolving, too. “As we’ve adjusted to changing news consumption habits, we’ve adapted to some outside forces affecting the local news industry, such as shifts in advertising trends, increasing newsprint costs and the job market.”
It was not known at the time of publication of this story if or how the changes will affect other publications in the Trails West Media Group, which are the Gering Courier, the Hemingford Ledger and Chadron Record. The Star-Herald is one of 12 newspapers across Nebraska, including those in North Platte, Lexington, Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha, owned by Lee Enterprises, which also has two publications in Casper, Wyoming, and the Rapid City Journal in Rapid City, S.D.