BULLHEAD CITY — Every business in the community is feeling the sometimes devastating effects that the coronavirus pandemic is creating.
News West Publishing is no exception. With the closures of local businesses, albeit temporarily, News West and the Mohave Valley Daily News are making their own temporary changes as well.
“Obviously right now with the coronavirus, things are changing daily,” said News West Publishing General Manager Larry Kendrick. “With that, as a daily paper, we are making changes on a daily basis as well.”
For one, the Daily News is changing its hours, effective Monday. The lobby will be open for visitors from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday, and will be closed on Friday.
“This is for circulation and things of that nature,” said Kendrick. “We will be available via phone for circulation on our normal schedule (for those who didn’t get their paper etc.). For classifieds, obits and things of that nature, we will still be open all day (Monday through Thursday) via the phone.”
Hours to contact circulation and obituary departments by phone on Friday will be 8 a.m. to noon.
The Daily News also publishes several special sections over the course of a year, including the upcoming Relocation Guide and “Best of Bullhead” publications. They also will be affected.
“We are making changes there as well,” said Kendrick. “As of right now, we are not doing the Entertainer, with the casinos being closed. Also, we’ve had to drop our Leisure Time (TV listing guide) temporarily. It will come back, but with no revenue to support it, and having to tighten up the paper as a whole, we have dropped that publication for now.”
The “Best of Bullhead” will be pushed back and the Relocation Guide is on hold.
“The Relocation Guide is very vital to us,” said Kendrick, “but we don’t think it’s appropriate to try and sell (advertising in it) right now.”
The most notable changes for the public will be in the size and scope of the daily paper. Kendrick said the newspaper will be cutting pages not currently relevant temporarily to address a loss in advertising revenue, including the sports section.
“It’s not something I like to do, but without any sports, there’s no need for a sports section,” Kendrick said. “If there is a major sports announcement, that will be covered under news. Revenue generation has obviously taken a big hit with the casinos down and businesses making their changes.
“All the industries are suffering. We are suffering as well. We will still be covering what’s relevant to us locally as well as any national news that is relevant to us, but you will see the paper get tighter.”
For Laughlin Times readers, that publication will be absorbed by the Daily News and will appear in Wednesday’s “B” section. In Laughlin, it will be a stand-alone product to provide Laughlin readers with information important to them.
“We are re-coordinating our editorial staff to deal with the news that is coming out so frequently,” said Kendrick. “We will be doing updates on a regular basis on our social media. Fact-driven news on our social media, not hearsay.”
Kendrick stressed the fact that much of what is published on social media platforms like Facebook, is false news and hearsay and that the public needs to turn to reliable sources to confirm and fact check all of these reports.
“We will continue to check our facts, that is important to us, but there is breaking news on an almost hourly basis as everyone knows,” said Kendrick. “We will have people monitoring our social media a little more closely, so if you have fears or questions, we can address them with facts.”
A special section on the coronavirus, “COVID-19: What it is and what to do,” will be distributed in Wednesday’s edition. It includes information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kendrick wanted to make it clear that no Daily News staff member has been laid off and that while many have had to cut hours and some have been moved around internally to other responsibilities, they all still are employed with News West.
“This is a family-owned business,” Kendrick said. “While they (Brehm Communications) own several papers, it is still a small community business. While we are going to continue putting out a daily paper, we have had struggles and even more so with this.”
While the paper is constricting, Kendrick also is making changes to help community businesses that are struggling like the newspaper is.
“Without (ad) revenue, we can’t continue to put a paper out,” said Kendrick. “So to help both of us, we are doing some special rates for some of the struggling community businesses. We will be slashing advertising rates for them so that they can continue to advertise with us. We’re talking anywhere from 50-70% slashes in pricing, so please reach out to your reps and see what they have for you.”
Finally, Kendrick said he wanted the public to know that the newspaper will continue to be here and will bounce back, like the whole community, once this situation is resolved and things get back to normal.
“It’s our responsibility to put out the news and we will do that,” Kendrick said. “Don’t forget your local newspaper. We need your support as well.”