The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung will begin producing a combined weekend edition newspaper that will be delivered on Saturday mornings as the company adjusts to the economic reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
Local businesses have closed, laid off workers and shifted how they operate to deal with the pandemic. Herald-Zeitung Publisher Neice Bell said the newspaper isn’t immune to those same challenges and has to adapt to meet them.
“This event is unprecedented,” Bell said. “Virtually overnight so many of the shops, restaurants and other places that make up our business community have had to close their doors or radically change how they work. That has an impact on their bottom line, and it has an impact on ours as well.”
Bell said that 70% of the Herald-Zeitung’s revenue comes as a result of advertising, and with those dollars not coming in, changes had to be made.
The weekend edition, which will begin on April 25, will have the content people have come to expect, just packaged differently and delivered earlier than the traditional Sunday morning,” Bell said.
“This isn’t a step that we want to take, but it’s one that makes sense given the current economic situation and the uncertainty that we and other businesses are facing with COVID-19,” Bell said.
The newspaper will continue its normal Tuesday through Friday editions.
Continued uncertainty might require the newspaper to make additional steps in the months ahead, Bell said, but the move also positions the newspaper to rise alongside the local economy’s resurgence once the pandemic abates.
The newspaper also has its online website at herald-zeitung.com which will continue to have stories and photos even on days when the print product isn’t being delivered. Subscribers who aren’t setup for digital access should reach out to the newspaper to get connected and logged in to the paper’s site.
The website, which has been revamped for the pandemic by Executive Editor Chris Lykins, has seen record traffic since the COVID-19 outbreak arrived in Comal County, including more than 400,000 visitors over two days toward the end of March.
“We’re going to continue to make improvements to our digital products so that people can be informed about what’s going on in New Braunfels and Comal County,” Bell said. “Whether it’s looking at it on your computer, your mobile phone, or the newspaper, we want to keep you informed.”
When it comes to the print edition, there are advantages to the weekend edition, including a product that will allow advertisers to reach readers for multiple days, with it staying in stores and racks through Monday.
The new weekend paper will also include something new — the popular Parade magazine which will begin appearing in the Herald-Zeitung starting with the May 10 edition.
“Even though these changes are coming about because of the coronavirus pandemic, we think there are a lot of great things that will come with this weekend paper,” Bell said. “We look forward to delivering a new product that our readers will enjoy and our advertisers will find valuable.”