A 162-year daily print tradition in Des Moines is ending
Saturday will mark the first time since 1860 that Des Moines is permanently without a daily print newspaper.
What's happening: The Des Moines Register ends its regular Saturday print edition this week, transitioning that coverage to an electronic format.
Why it matters: It's another page in our nation's local news rebirth as more Americans move to digital products.
State of play: Gannett — the Register's corporate owner and the nation's largest newspaper chain — is ceasing Saturday print editions in 136 markets this month. That's more than half of the media company's newspapers.
Catch up fast: Newspapers were once the sole means of accessing news, DSM Register editor Carol Hunter noted in a January letter to subscribers.
- The industry's financial fortunes and subscriber base have eroded since the mid-2000s while website traffic is growing, according to the Pew Research Center.
By the numbers: U.S. newspapers' weekday circulation has fallen 61% since 1989, according to Pew. The estimated total in 2020 was 24.3 million.
- Average monthly unique visitors to newspaper websites have climbed by 68% since 2014 — to just under 14 million.
What to watch: Local news sources are expanding via ethnic media outlets, nonprofits and corporate news startups.
The bottom line: Local news still matters but how we get it is changing.
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