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Monday, April 15, 2024

Ocala’s oldest newspaper cites digital dominance in switch to mail delivery

The Ocala StarBanner is now using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver its newspapers, saying it made the change because print subscribers are “increasingly engaging digitally.”

The newspaper, which was founded over 100 years ago, made the transition on Monday, March 18, according to a statement.

Old Ocala Star Banner building
The Ocala StarBanner transitioned to postal delivery on Monday, March 18.

“The round-the-clock online news cycle has made digital products the first choice for breaking news, and print subscribers are increasingly engaging digitally,” reads the statement.

The StarBanner is one of 200 newspapers that is owned and operated by Gannett Co. Inc.

According to the company, the publication will put “renewed emphasis on the printed newspaper,” with plans to create local news that has “more impact and context” and that will focus on “feel-good community features, sports analysis, and commentary.”

“For many years now, the printed newspaper has served as a culmination of the stories that will become our collective history, while our websites and mobile apps deliver the news of the day,” said Michael A. Anastasi, VP of Local News for Gannett. Anastasi says the company’s “informed readers” who pick up a paper already know “what happened yesterday.”

Distribution bay at Ocala StarBanner
The empty distribution bay at the old Ocala StarBanner location in Ocala. (July 2021)

“The print newspaper should provide additional context, to help readers better understand their community and the world around them,” said Anastasi.

According to the company, its new strategy has been successfully introduced the in “dozens of markets across the country.”

Since the change went into effect, Ocala-News.com has received multiple letters from users sharing their opinions, including one who says his newspaper was not delivered on Monday.

“So, some penny-pinching accountant figures they can save money by firing all the newspaper delivery drivers and mail the paper to you? Yeah, like the postal service is now a good thing. First day of this new horrible idea and, after waiting all day, my mail comes and low and behold: No paper. Good riddance! A morning paper and a cup of coffee is the American way,” said Tom Bryceland in a letter to Ocala-News.com.

“My mail doesn’t even arrive until well after 5:00PM, so my ‘news’ will truly be OLD news by the time your paper arrives. With that being said, the ‘Sunday’ paper will now be on Saturday, so by the time it arrives on Monday it’ll then be 2 days old news,” said Ann A. in a letter.

What are your thoughts on the change in service by the newspaper? Share them in a comment below or write us your own letter to the editor.