Southeast Missourian to change print frequency temporarily

Due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Southeast Missourian will be temporarily suspending three print days while continuing to bulk up online content as a seven-day digital product.

"We will actually be producing an e-edition of the newspaper each day. That's the layout of the newspaper print readers are accustomed to. But we will only print and deliver it three days a week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday," said Jon K. Rust, publisher of the Southeast Missourian. "Readers who still want to see it in traditional format with comics, Dear Abby, crossword puzzles and all the other stuff they love can still do so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but they will have to do it online.

"Anyone who reads the newspaper only in print won't miss any local stories, though," Rust added. "Local stories will also be in print the next day. That includes obituaries, police reports, sports, the business page, and almost everything else local."

The move is necessitated by the steep drop-off in newspaper pre-prints and advertising, caused by store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"As readers know, you can usually find a lot of inserts in the newspaper: from Macy's, JCPenney, Kohl's, you name it," Rust said. "But with them closing temporarily, along with other local businesses, we basically lose money every time we print. That's why we so appreciate and thank our loyal readers for staying with us. The only way we can continue as a business -- keeping our reporters providing this valuable content -- is if people maintain their subscriptions and new readers sign up."

Rust said subscription rates will not change.

Counterintuitively, Rust said, while needing subscribers, the Southeast Missourian is currently making an important portion of its content free online.

"In partnership with SoutheastHEALTH and Saint Francis Healthcare, we are providing health news to the community online, whether someone is a subscriber or not," Rust said. "We believe it's vital that everyone has the latest information about how to battle COVID-19 and what to do to be safe, not just for themselves, but for their family, friends and neighbors. No other medium is more powerful in delivering complicated stories to our market than www.semissourian.com."

The newspaper is also providing free support to local businesses and their customers by producing a directory each day in print and online that updates store hours, store closures, event cancellations and other business news.

One advantage of going to three days a week in print is that the newspaper will now actually be thicker than it would otherwise, Rust said.

"I really appreciate our subscribers," Rust added. "They understand this is an unusual, strange time with a lot of challenges. Their loyalty is what helps us serve them and the community. Without them, we couldn't continue."

Print readers who have not already registered to access the paper online or in e-reader form are encouraged to call (573) 388-3680 or visit www.semissourian.com. There is no additional charge to print subscribers for online access.

Along with a growing list of newsletters (including a subscriber-exclusive obituary newsletter), the Southeast Missourian has launched a daily text alert for obituaries. To opt-in for obituary or other text alerts, visit www.semissourian.com/textalerts. For a full list of newsletters, visit www.semissourian.com/newsletters.

Questions about website login or activation can be directed to Southeast Missourian customer service at (573) 388-3680.

The new print schedule will go into effect Tuesday, March 24. Wednesday and Friday editions this week will only be available online.