Last Wednesday, we announced that we were closing the papers in Hope, Arkadelphia and Nevada County, effective September 15th.

Last Wednesday, we announced that we were closing the papers in Hope, Arkadelphia and Nevada County, effective September 15th.
For the past two years in my role as Regional Vice President for GateHouse newspapers across Arkansas, I’ve worked closely with the local management team to make business decisions that would ensure a viable future for these community papers. The challenges have been difficult to overcome, with declining subscription and ad revenue and, more recently, increased newsprint expense.
In order for a local newspaper to survive it must have the support of the community. In Hempstead County which has over 9,000 homes, the Hope Star has fewer than 500 subscribers. In Clark County with roughly the same number of homes, the Siftings Herald has less than 900. And, in Nevada County, with just under 4,000 homes, The Picayune-Times has fewer than 400 subscribers. The loss of revenue and subscribers was just too much to surmount for our local teams.
The decision to close the papers was not made lightly, and it was not made locally. Our local management team, led by Publisher Teresa Hicks and General Manager Jennifer Allen, inherited the newspapers a little over a year ago. Saddled with a long history of unprofitability and, despite their best efforts, we were unable to turn the tide. The local team’s effort, including a dedicated staff, has been monumental.
The loss of the newspaper in a community is an emotional one. We have received inquiries from individuals interested in purchasing the papers we are closing and we will explore options there.
We have also received calls and comments from disappointed customers expressing concerns for the loss of community coverage; unfortunately some have included inexcusable hate speech directed to our staff.
If you have any comments you’d like to share about the closures, please contact me directly at mguthrie@gatehousemedia.com or (530) 340-2779.