The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette announced today it was ending publication of its free weekly, Sync, begun in 2007.
Of five remaining employees, one will lose his job. Three moved to other jobs with the newspaper and one found other employment according to the article posted on-line.
The Democrat-Gazette was among many daily newspapers that started free weeklies to compete with free news weeklies such as the Arkansas Times. The dailies hoped to reach younger people, who have tended to not become daily newspaper subscribers. Dailies have begun giving up on the experiment to focus on core publications. The Democrat-Gazette, like newspapers nationwide, is coping with declining circulation and advertising revenue — products of both changing reader habits and the Internet’s capture of digital advertising, particularly classified. The article announcing the decision quoted Lynn Hamilton, the Democrat-Gazette president:
“The decision to end Sync is bittersweet,” Hamilton said. “It’s sad to see this publication go away after so many of us have invested so much time and energy into putting it on the street. However, a strength of our company always has been an ability to reassess our changing environment and move forward in creative new ways to better serve our readers and advertisers.”
The Democrat-Gazette has continued to beef up its online presence, including by softening considerably the hard pay wall it originally erected on digital access.