Without any advance public notice, The Jackson County Times-Journal closed the doors of its Jackson-based office on Monday, July 9 and will immediately cease publication of its three-times-a-week newspaper.
Customers and visitors going to the Times-Journal office at 73 Huron St. on Monday were told the office had closed and the newspaper was discontinuing publication. The edition of Sunday, July 8 was apparently its last one.
While no formal news release was immediately issued, Adams Publishing Group (APG) Media of Ohio, the chain which owns The Jackson County Times-Journal, explained the reasons for its decision in a letter which was circulated Monday to at least some of its major advertising customers. A copy was obtained by The Telegram.
"APG Media has decided to indefinitely suspend the print publication of The Jackson County Times-Journal and will begin serving our Jackson County readers and advertisers in a different way," the letter began.
That "different way" will be publishing some Jackson County news in the free-distribution Jackson-Vinton Shopper each weekend and also in APG's Vinton County Courier which is published on Wednesdays. APG also plans to post Jackson County news online on the Jackson County Times-Journal website.
Responding to a request for comment, APG Media of Ohio President Monica Nieporte told The Telegram that the plan will enable the company to continue to serve the Jackson County market, but in a much more efficient manner through the consolidation of operations by reducing the number of newspaper print editions and offices.
Nieporte confirmed that The Vinton County Courier would now contain Jackson County news and sports content as well as Vinton County content and that the Jackson County Community Shopper would be expanded to circulation in Vinton County and would also include news content from both counties. She also confirmed that the Jackson office has permanently closed. As for the personnel situation, she noted that most Jackson County Times-Journal employees displaced by the changes have been transferred to other APG Media of Ohio locations.
"We just needed to be more efficient and consolidate our operations," Nieporte explained, while also stating that the company remains committed to serving Jackson County with news and advertising services.
"The decision to suspend publication of the print edition of The Times-Journal was not made lightly," the APG Media of Ohio letter stated. "However, the escalating migration of print readership to online, combined with market pressures outside of our control have presented us with the immediate need to change how we serve our audience in Jackson County going forward."
The letter continued, "The closing of major retail chains, consolidations of other retailers and health-care providers and the ongoing tariff on newsprint have resulted in diminished revenue opportunity and increased costs. There has also been a steady migration in reader preference from print to online."
The Jackson County Times-Journal was established in 1997 by a merger of The Jackson-Vinton Journal-Herald and The Jackson Times, but the roots of the newspaper can be traced all the way back to The Jackson Standard, which was founded in 1847.
The closing of The Jackson County Times-Journal leaves The Telegram as the only locally-based newspaper serving Jackson County. The Telegram is part of Total Media, which also includes the Jackson County Broadcasting Co. radio stations, a digital billboard, and Zip Printing. All these components are based in an office at 295 E. Main St. in downtown Jackson.