Change reflects strength, not weakness

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Print journalism across the United States remains at a crossroads.

Newspapers, large and small, over the past several years have written their own obituaries after coming to the grim decision to close up shop. Those remaining in business have trimmed costs by downsizing staff as well as looking for other measures to save money in the face of rising production and delivery costs.

While our bottom line remains in the black, Roanoke-Chowan Publications isn’t immune to the problems facing our industry. After over 100 years in business, we want to remain that way….keeping our doors open and continuing the steady flow of locally-generated news and advertising for our loyal subscribers.

The downturn for businesses across America, including ours, came 10 years ago. While the national economy has recovered – and the same can be said for the larger and more populated areas of North Carolina – growth here in our local market remains flat. We, as I am sure you do as well, remain hopeful that meaningful growth does take place in our region in the coming years. Until then we must take steps to ensure the continued strength and vitality of this newspaper.

It has long been the philosophy of Roanoke-Chowan Publications to internally absorb the rising cost of doing business as much as possible while passing on to our customers as little of those costs as possible. The single-copy cost of what you are holding in your hands today is the exact same as it was 25-plus years ago. The same can be said for our annual subscription rate and the costs paid by our advertisers.

It is in the spirit of that philosophy that, rather than significantly increase our advertising and subscription rates, we have made the decision to eliminate our Thursday edition of The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. By doing so, we will be able to significantly reduce our newsprint consumption and circulation/delivery costs without reducing the amount of award-winning local content you have come to expect.

This decision, one reached after much deliberation that actually began in the spring of this year, also sparked another idea. The bi-weekly News-Herald will be published on Wednesdays and Saturdays. By moving our normal Tuesday edition to Wednesday, it gives our news staff an additional 24 hours to gather more information in which we can build and write our local stories. That also means more time is available to generate more local stories, to include feature articles.

All of this will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Our normal Saturday edition will remain intact.

We did not reach this decision without closely scrutinizing the impact it may have on our loyal advertisers and readers. After careful consideration, we are of the belief that this change will enhance our readers’ experience with the newspaper and, consequently, provide even greater value for our advertisers.

By having more content in each of our two editions, more time will be spent reading the newspaper and, therefore, more time will be spent seeing advertising. We see this as a strength, not a weakness.

Additionally, this decision impacts the readers of the Gates County Index. Up until now, this weekly publication is printed on Monday nights. To accommodate moving the News-Herald’s production schedule to a Tuesday night printing (for Wednesday’s edition), the Index will be printed on Tuesday night as well. That changes the Index from a Wednesday to a Thursday publication beginning next week.

I expect there will be some questions that arise from the announcement of this changes, and I welcome the opportunity to personally answer any you may have.

Please feel free to contact me at any time by phone at 252-332-7207, by email at or by stopping by our office at the intersection of Main Street and Catherine Creek Road in downtown Ahoskie. Our marketing representatives will be reaching out to advertisers in the coming days to discuss this change as well.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued loyalty to our newspapers. Hometown publications like The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index are an integral part of every community. Your decision to advertise with and subscribe to us is a large part of what has allowed us to serve the four counties of the Roanoke-Chowan area that we have shared for the past 100-plus years and to continue to do so for many years to come.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal