As previously announced, The Times will discontinue distribution of a printed edition on Mondays and Tuesdays, beginning Dec. 24.
The Times will continue to report the news and cover area events seven days a week for publication on its website, www.gainesvilletimes.com.
The new delivery schedule will result in a number of changes in the printed newspaper, some of which will start this week.
Two strips on the daily comics pages, “Mark Trail” and “For Better and For Worse,” will be replaced with “Nancy” and “Rhymes with Orange.”
“Mark Trail” will continue to be part of the Sunday comics pages, and “Pearls Before Swine,” now part of the daily lineup, will be added to Sunday.
“Both of the current strips have story lines that continue day-to-day, and would lose their continuity without Monday and Tuesday editions. We know that Mark Trail in particular has a long connection to Gainesville, and are glad that we will be able to continue it in our Sunday comics pages,” said Norman Baggs, general manager of The Times.
Starting with the Dec. 23 edition, television grids for Mondays and Tuesdays will be included in the Sunday printed edition of The Times. Similarly, the Jumble puzzle for Monday and Tuesday will print on Sunday.
“We know a lot of our readers like doing Jumble, and many still use printed television grids, so we are rearranging things to keep those features available,” Baggs said.
For puzzle lovers, The Times also will have a new lineup of online puzzles available on its website that can be completed electronically, including crosswords, Jumble and Sudoku.
Obituaries for Mondays and Tuesdays will be posted online as usual, and links will be included in daily newsletters sent to those who have signed up for the service. You can sign up for any of The Times emails by visiting gainesvilletimes.com/newsletters.
Ronda Rich’s column, which previously anchored the Tuesday lifestyle page, will move to a similar position on Saturdays.
“There’s no way we can give our readers everything they were receiving on those two days, but we have tried to preserve many of the features we know they enjoy,” Baggs said.
“While we will not have print editions two days each week, we will cover the news for publication online and hope our customers will take advantage of our digital offerings. All print subscribers have full access to our digital content, and we encourage anyone who has not registered for access to do so at our website,” Baggs said.
Because The Times will continue to provide news coverage seven days a week, the basic subscription price for the publication will not change.
“Even with delivery five days per week, subscribers at our base annual rate are paying only about 80 cents per day to have a newspaper produced and delivered to their home. That’s less than the price of a pack of chewing gum. It’s still the best bargain in town,” Baggs said.
“No one dislikes these changes more than we do,” Baggs said. “We want to be able to provide printed newspapers seven days a week. Unfortunately, the business climate for newspapers is such that it is no longer viable. This is a move we have to make to position ourselves to continue doing business in the future.
“Nationwide, there have been more than 80 newspapers that have cut back on print distribution schedules this year alone. Some 1,800 newspapers have gone out of business in this country in the past 15 years. Fallen advertising revenues coupled with the rising cost of newsprint and distribution have forced us to make difficult decisions, which we hope our loyal customers will support.”