The Bolivar Commercial, a Mississippi Delta newspaper which has been in production since the past 104 years will be closing its operations at the end of this month. The move comes as “economic difficulties exacerbated by the loss of advertising income to social media sites.”
Currently, the newspaper publishes a print edition on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The newspaper industry has sustained steep declines in ad revenue because of the ongoing pandemic. The Commercial was hit hard by declining ad revenues and could not sustain itself. Also, the increasing use of social media sites like Facebook has also made a dent in community newspaper revenues.
Lee Walls, president and CEO of Walls Newspapers and owner of The Bolivar Commercial says, “With social media, a user can choose to have a ‘news’ feed of legitimate stories, incorrect stories, hateful rhetoric, harmful gossip and defamatory commentary. As if that’s not enough, they can have all of that in the form of video or text. You get all of that by simply giving up your personal data and privacy, no money required.
“We don’t have the option to compete against that business model because we are held to a higher standard. Based on very objective statistics, it is clear that people are choosing social media and to give up their privacy, over community journalism.”
“I have nothing but respect and pride for all of my employees and their hard work, which is why I have personally covered the losses for many years now to keep the paper running,” he concluded.