Watertown Daily Times announces newspaper changes, closures, job cuts

Updated: Jun. 13, 2019 at 6:30 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Watertown Daily Times announced Thursday that it's ending Monday editions, closing four newspapers, cutting jobs and creating a new regional website.

“There will always be a very viable marketplace for news. It’s the platform that changes,” said John Johnson, the chief executive officer.

According to the newspaper, Johnson “told employees that June 24 will be the final print edition of the Monday Watertown Daily Times. After that date the newspaper will be in print Tuesday through Sunday and online always.”

It was also announced that the Ogdensburg Journal, the St. Lawrence Plaindealer, the Carthage Republican Tribune and the South Jeff Journal will close.

“Those bi-weekly and weekly publications were not supported by enough readers or advertisers to be profitable and more readers in those communities had already chosen the Watertown Daily Times as their source for news and information,” the article said. “The company will instead focus on the Watertown Daily Times, the Courier Observer in Massena and Potsdam, the Lowville Journal and on one weekly newspaper in Oswego County.”

According to the article, the company “has also been required to eliminate positions that were focused solely on the print editions of the newspaper.”

7 News spoke with Johnson, who said six people are losing their jobs.

“Anytime you have to let people go it’s a gut-wrenching decision. These are great people who’ve put their hearts and souls into working here and these are very disruptive decisions and I feel personally awful every time we have to do this,” said Johnson.

The newspaper announced the creation of a new regional website for news and advertising named NNY360. Accorting to the report, the site will include reporting from Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Oswego Counties.

“It will have the news from all the communities that we cover from the city of Oswego all the way up to Massena and all points in between. And that site is launching on Monday. It’s going to be a subscription based site and it will be free until August 1 and then the subscription will start to kick in and it’s going to be free to print subscribers of the Watertown Times,” said Johnson.

The company said print subscribers to the Watertown Daily Times will have full access to NNY360.

“Those who have not yet subscribed to the print edition will be charged $9.99 per month for access to the website. All readers will have free and full access to the website through August 1,” the article said.

Johnson said there will also be an e-edition so people can read a replica of the newspaper on their iPads or tablets.

The company said the loss of print subscribers and the growth of a digital audience led to the changes.

“Johnson Newspapers will survive going well into the 21st Century,” Johnson said in the article. “We are taking today’s tools and delivering quality content.”

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