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Digital Democrat-Gazette Heads SouthLock Icon

1 min read

After ending print newspaper delivery in the northeast corner of Arkansas in the spring — initiating a program that furnishes $800 iPads to readers willing to switch to a digital prescription — the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is following the same path in the state’s southeast corner.

The program has produced a small bottom-line improvement in far-flung counties for the Democrat-Gazette, the statewide daily whose publisher, Walter Hussman Jr., declared in an April letter to readers that the “declining economics of the newspaper business” require the company to save on delivery costs.

After halting print delivery in Mississippi, Clay, Randolph, Lawrence and Greene counties in April and in the Jonesboro area at the end of May, the Little Rock-based paper is now converting print delivery to digital in “Ashley County and the surrounding counties,” according to the newspaper’s general manager, Lynn Hamilton. Other counties affected are Desha, Drew, Bradley and Chicot, all in far southeast Arkansas.

Hamilton said the paper, owned by Wehco Media Inc. of Little Rock, has “no long-term plans as yet, though.”

“We’re seeing a relatively small improvement in the bottom line in the affected counties,” Hamilton told Whispers. “We’re looking at this one geographic area at a time.”

Subscribers who keep their $36-a-month subscriptions get a 12.9-inch, 64-gigabyte iPad loaded with a newspaper app allowing readers to see a digital replica of the printed paper.

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