The former leadership team of Civitas Media, which has newspapers in 12 states, thought it could cut its way to profitability. Several years ago, it removed the color comics from its Sunday papers, and dropped the weather map. Other cuts were made, too, that resulted in big circulation losses, I’m told.
Last October, Michael Bush resigned as Civitas Media CEO to “pursue other opportunities,” and was replaced by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review CEO Ralph Martin. The new boss, along with editorial vice president Jim Lawitz, are trying to win back readers by adding content, including sports agate and expanded weather coverage.
“Maybe some of the changes we’ve made in recent years weren’t the best,” Civitas editor John Peters told his readers last Sunday.
“You may have also noticed [in addition to color comics] a return to the regular Sunday publication of public records, including marriage licenses, divorces, and land transfers. In the coming weeks we’ll expand that even further, to include regular sheriff’s office reports and an expanded, more in-depth coverage of the county court system.”
Adding content instead of cutting? What a concept!
“In some of our markets we’re starting to see some [circulation] growth,” editorial chief Lawitz tells me.