In response to financial strain from the coronavirus pandemic, The Daily Record will shift its daily news coverage online and print two editions a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Reductions in advertising revenue due to public health restrictions on local businesses and a statewide stay-at-home order required the newspaper to cut expenses, explained Keven Zepezauer, publisher of The Daily Record and president and CEO of Restoration NewsMedia.
“COVID-19 and the necessary precautions it’s brought into our lives have challenged small businesses, and your Daily Record is no exception,” Zepezauer said. “The Tuesday and Friday publication schedule will allow us to save money on printing and distribution costs, but we’ll continue to function as a daily news outlet on MyDailyRecord.com, where news is reported as it happens each day.”
The changes begin following publication of Friday’s newspaper. The Daily Record’s first biweekly edition will be published on Tuesday, April 14.
MyDailyRecord.com will feature new local stories each day. Users will pay $8.99 per month for full access to the website, with a limited-time offer reducing the price to $5.99 with a monthly EZ Pay subscription. Home delivery customers will receive website access at no additional charge.
“Our newsroom team is second-to-none when it comes to covering Dunn, Harnett County and our neighboring communities in Johnston and Sampson counties, and we’re asking readers to support us by signing up for an online subscription,” said Managing Editor Emily Weaver. “As a public service, our COVID-19 coverage will remain free for everyone to read, though we hope those who rely on it will choose to subscribe so they don’t miss out on other important local stories.”
The novel coronavirus has temporarily closed retail stores and personal services businesses like hair salons and barbershops, along with entertainment venues like theaters and bowling alleys. Restaurants are limited to providing carryout, curbside pickup and delivery service, bars have been shut down and even essential businesses like grocery stores have reduced their hours and limited customer occupancy.
Those changes have brought steep declines in advertising and triggered cost-saving measures throughout the news publishing industry. Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper company, announced layoffs, pay cuts, furloughs and spending freezes in an effort to save up to $125 million. The Tampa Bay Times, owned by nonprofit journalism school The Poynter Institute, reduced its seven-day newspaper to a two-day publication in response to COVID-19.
“While we regret that a reduction in publication days is necessary, our first responsibility to our subscribers and community stakeholders is to stay in business so we can continue serving as our region’s newspaper of record,” Zepezauer said. “These changes allow us to do that, and they reflect a generational shift from print to online that we’re already seeing. MyDailyRecord.com will continue to provide the daily coverage our readers are accustomed to.”
Hoover and Mellicent Adams founded The Daily Record in December 1950. The newspaper purchased the competing Dunn Dispatch in 1978. After Hoover Adams’ death in 2012, his children Brent and Bart Adams and Maere Kay Lashmit assumed ownership.
In April 2019, The Daily Record and The Wilson Times formed Restoration NewsMedia, a joint venture company that publishes eight community newspapers in eastern and central North Carolina.
The Wilson Times will also shift to a Tuesday and Friday print schedule and The Courier-Times of Roxboro will reduce print frequency from twice weekly to once per week.
Restoration’s other newspapers, the Wake Weekly of Wake Forest, the Johnstonian News of Smithfield, the Mount Olive Tribune, The Enterprise of Spring Hope and the Butner-Creedmoor News, will continue publishing weekly with regular news updates on their respective websites.
For questions about The Daily Record’s changes in response to COVID-19, call 910-891-1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The newspaper’s office at 99 W. Broad St. in downtown Dunn remains temporarily closed to walk-in customers due to public health guidelines designed to reduce potential coronavirus exposure.