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Journal Home Deliveries, Rack Sales End in Some 30 Communities

By Sue Major Holmes
Associated Press
      The Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico's largest daily newspaper, plans to stop home deliveries and rack sales in more than 30 communities around the state because of the economic downturn.
    Brian Fantl, general manager for the Albuquerque Publishing Co., said today it was a difficult decision because the Journal has circulated in nearly every part of the state for decades.
    But, he said, "we've subsidized delivery costs throughout New Mexico for many years with advertising revenue, and advertising revenue has dropped sharply and we've had to take a look at every cost that we can."
    The home deliveries will stop at the end of January. Subscribers will still be able to get the Journal's electronic version or receive the paper by mail, he said.
    Newspapers nationwide have been squeezed as readers and advertisers move to the Internet, and the economic downturn has further worsened the industry's struggles.
    Fantl said that the Journal's shipping costs also have risen, he said.
    "Circulation revenue in every area we looked at doesn't cover the production costs ... then you add shipping to that," Fantl said.
    Several other newspapers have taken similar measures in recent months.
    The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News last month slashed home delivery to three days a week. The San Antonio (Texas) Express-News stopped home delivery and single-copy sales in parts of South Texas at the end of last year, saying readership in those areas was too small to support the cost of distributing the paper.
    Tribune Co. — owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other dailies — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.
    Last year, Albuquerque lost its other daily newspaper, The Albuquerque Tribune, which shut down in February after nine decades the news business.
    Also in New Mexico, Freedom New Mexico halted home deliveries of the Quay County Sun last week and is raising the price of its Clovis and Portales newspapers' Sunday editions from $1 to $1.25 to offset expenses, said Ray Sullivan, publisher of Freedom New Mexico.
    Fantl said the cutbacks at the Journal will include home delivery and rack sales north of Las Vegas, including Raton; east of Moriarty on Interstate 40, including Santa Rosa, Tucumcari and the northeast corner; much of the east side, including Clovis, Portales, Artesia, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Lovington, Alamogordo, Tularosa and Carrizozo; and the southwest corner, including Deming, Lordsburg and the Silver City area, Fantl said.
    The company said those areas represent a small percentage of its total circulation. The newspaper will continue home delivery and single-copy sales in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Taos and Española, western New Mexico including Grants and Gallup, the Four Corners area, Roswell in eastern New Mexico, the three-county area around Albuquerque and south to Las Cruces, Fantl said.
   


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