Courier Press changing to once weekly

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By Correne Martin

The Courier Press is your community newspaper. It has been for 171 years. And since 1966, it has been published twice a week, in tabloid format. 

Starting with the first issue in January 2020, however, the twin weekly will become a single weekly newspaper, circulated solely on Wednesdays. The Courier Press and its owner, Morris Newspaper Corporation (MNC) of Wisconsin, have decided to forego the Monday edition. This change will allow us to deliver one convenient package of trusted, hyper-local news and advertising to our loyal readers—on the news stands Wednesdays and in the mail on Thursdays.

The mission of our newspaper is to primarily disseminate information important to our readers, yet the community and subscribers must also remember the Courier Press is a business. The Courier, our sister publications and our shopper, The Trader, have always been private enterprises that continue to exist by balanced economics. These products are not going anywhere.

Moving to 52 weekly issues per year is the right move for the reason that newspapers, in general, have been hit the hardest of most industries by federal government tariffs and the trade war.

“It’s in response to increased costs of printing, publishing and postage,” explained John Ingebritsen, MNC of Wisconsin publisher. “We’re moving forward with a new cadence. For those who want their local coverage fresh and more timely, our growing web and social media presence are going strong, though we are thoroughly identified as a print newspaper. That’s what defines us.”

“Our second highest expense (behind salaries) is the cost of newsprint, which went up over 30 percent. Those costs have not come down,” added Matt Johnson, Morris Media of Monroe publisher. Johnson and his staff went through a similar transition from six weekly editions to two, 18 months ago. “Without making huge increases in what we charge the public for advertising or going overboard with subscription prices, this is the right change for the right reason.”

So, the Courier Press’ first issue of the new year will come out on Jan. 8, and every Wednesday thereafter. 

Subscribers will receive a 14-month subscription for the cost of 12 months, or $43, in Crawford, Grant, Clayton and Allamakee counties. Subscribers outside these counties will pay $53, for the same deal. 

According to Ingebritsen, this is a pretty standard going rate for subscriptions across the Wisconsin weekly market.

At the same time, the price of our on-the-rack single copy will increase from $1.00 to $1.25 per paper. 

Also, with 2020’s arrival, the Courier and its sister publications in northeast Iowa, will undergo a format change, giving the products a slightly different. 

Manager Gary Howe, who will retire in April, acknowledged, “We will continue to be viable in the community; that’s the important thing. We are absolutely committed to the Howe family tradition of serving the greater good and making a profound difference in the communities we cover.”

Though we are dropping the Monday edition, the Courier Press remains vested in the Prairie du Chien area, with the same amount of content, just in one package on Wednesday. We will have news from the weekend and previews of what’s about to happen the next weekend. The probability of our readers regularly seeing larger issues is great. We anticipate having the ability to better prepare for the one edition and be more versatile in covering mid-week events, not being tied to the desk for production twice a week. 

Just as we are here to advocate for the success of our communities’ futures, we also believe in our own future. The people we work for at Morris Newspapers are also very committed to thriving here. We’re not shipping jobs or duties overseas. We’re staffed by eight full-time and three part-time citizens who live in and care about these towns. 

We fully intend to fulfill the relationship we’ve had with our “stockholders,” our readers, since 1848, with quality, reliable news—only at a different frequency. 

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