Yesterday, I announced that The Baltimore Sun will launch a completely redesigned morning paper on September 18,1995, featuring expanded and in-depth news coverage better organized for our readers. I also announced that we would cease publication of The Evening Sun on September 15,1995, so that we could reinvest our efforts and resources in the expanded morning paper.
I'm sure you've heard this news through the Baltimore media, but as CEO and Publisher of The Baltimore Sun I wanted to also share my thoughts with you directly. Below you will find the complete text from my speech yesterday on the many attributes the new Sun. I hope you will take a moment to read about the new morning newspaper that I'm proud to offer you this September.
! CEO and Publisher
PRESS CONFERENCE REMARKS BY MARY JUNCK
MAY 25-I'm Mary Junck, CEO and Publisher of The Baltimore Sun. This morning, I'm here with two important announcements that pertain to the future of our organization and the news we provide to our readers every day.
Earlier this morning, we made these same announcements to our employees in meetings here at Calvert Street, at our production plant and at all of our regional offices.
First, I'm pleased to announce that The Baltimore Sun will launch a new, greatly expanded and completely redesigned morning newspaper on Monday, September 18, 1995. The expansion and redesign are based on two years' of ongoing local research including surveys, focus groups, personal interviews and group discussions with over 7,000 readers and non-readers.
The new morning Sun will offer our readers many new benefits in both news content and design. In a few moments I'd like to highlight these for you, and actually show you a working prototype of the redesigned front page.
But now, let me make the difficult announcement: due to significantly declining circulation and reader preference for morning newspapers, we will cease publishing The Evening Sun on Friday, September 15, and reinvest our efforts and resources into a markedly improved morning paper.
Evening circulation is currently at 86,360, down 100,000 copies since 1987. This is an all-time low for The Evening Sun since 1927.
So based on this ongoing, dramatic loss of readership, we surveyed our readers and determined that the majority of readers today prefer one comprehensive, sophisticated morning paper -- a preference that will be satisfied by The new morning Sun.
Despite these clear indications from the research and circulation figures, this still was an extremely difficult decision to make, although I think many people in the community have expressed it for some time. The Evening Sun has been an integral part of Baltimore's history since the early 1900's. Many great journalists including H.L. Mencken have worked at the paper, and it's touched the lives of countless Marylanders. I am personally grateful to the many talented Evening Sun staffers who put their heart and soul into this remarkable institution.
More importantly, we recognize that we will still have approximately 80,000 loyal subscribers and readers of our evening paper, who are important to us as part of our Baltimore Sun family. While closing The Evening Sun will undoubtedly be a change for all of us, it will enable us to focus our resources on continuing our strategy of providing in-depth of news coverage, and giving a better newspaper to all readers.
Despite ceasing publication of one of our two newspapers, I am pleased that we will retain nearly all of our 1,700 employees. We hope to limit the number of employees separated from the company through layoffs and/or voluntary termination incentives to less than 50 people. Attrition, reassignment and reduction of overtime shifts will be used wherever possible to reduce the impact on staff. Company managers will be talking today with affected employees and union representatives, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment further until all of our employees throughout the day have been personally notified by their direct supervisor.
Our over 200 circulation distributors will he basically unaffected by our decision.
Closing The Evening Sun will also impact our daily circulation, which is currently at just over 350,000. Our goal is to convert all evening-only readers to the new morning paper. We recognize that we will lose approximately 15,000 duplicate subscribers -- those who receive both a morning and evening Sun. After our initial phase-in period, we are absolutely committed to increasing our readership and confident that this will occur.
Our morning Sun has an excellent track record on circulation growth showing increases since the early 1980's. Just during my two years with The Baltimore Sun, our circulation has grown by 30,000 copies to the current 264,583.
We think advertisers will be positively affected by this change. We believe the new morning Sun will become an even stronger print advertising vehicle to reach Marylanders.