The Saratogian: How Long Can It Go On?

Our household recently received a solicitation from the Saratogian offering six months of delivery for $2.00.

This prompted me to go through the latest paper to see, aside from the classified page, how many paid advertisements were in the paper. While there were a number of ads promoting the newspaper itself, there were only five others and those were pretty modest.

Most of the stories that appear in the paper are either from national news services or from “staff” and more often than not cover news from other localities such as Troy, not Saratoga. “Staff” usually means pretty much a publishing of some news release from a local organization or business. It is unclear how many if any local reporters are still employed by the paper.

The Saratogian is owned by a hedge fund. Why it goes on without significant income from advertising or subscribers is a mystery to me.

Here are the pages from the July 3, 202o edition. The X is for self promotion advertisements for the newspaper.

5 thoughts on “The Saratogian: How Long Can It Go On?”

  1. Pretty grim. Some additional factors…
    The income from classified is way down in almost all print; just look at the popularity of Facebook garage sale pages for one reason.

    The only significant ad revenue is coming from retail Sunday inserts – you know, those things that many of us yank out of the paper and chuck directly into recycling bins. But the coupon inserts (like SmartSource) are still being redeemed, according to a colleague who works with these things, in sufficient numbers.

    Note also that many of the Saratogian reporters are required to pull ‘double-duty’ for the Troy Record as a cost-cutting measure, which is also why you see a lot of articles about things going on at Troy Music Hall (pre-pandemic) in their entertainment pages. The Record isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, revenue-wise, either.

    Bottom line: It’s no longer an ‘if’ for the Saratogian to be an online-only product; it’s just a matter of ‘when.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a former “paper boy” I can tell you that there were very few homes on my route that did not get the Saratogian. Years ago, of course, and the circulation was a steady 12,000. It makes us Saratogians sad to see it die a slow death.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I still have my November 22, 1963 Saratogian with the front page story of John Kennedy’s assassination published only an hour after the event took place. It was never the best paper in the Capital District but it covered the local community better than anyone else. The information void that has been created by the recent changes in their operations will be difficult to fill. Saratoga Today deserves credit for attempting to do so.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As some of you know, I wrote reviews of dance events at SPAC for a dozen summers, 2007-2018. In early 2019, I emailed the new senior editor, Ron Rosner, with a proposed schedule of five reviews for the coming summer’s much too brief NY City Ballet season (another story in itself). He replied that the paper had no freelance budget (I previously received the princely sum of $50 per review), but welcomed me to write for the paper for free. Rather than asking him if he would agree to work at his job for nothing, I politely declined and arranged to air my reviews on WAMC. (Of course there are no reviews this year.) The Saratogian has been reduced to such a nickel & diming outfit that I can’t imagine it has much time left. It has not taken an editorial stand on any significant local issue in years. I should say that Barbara Lombardo, who took me on as reviewer after Mae Banner’s death, had a clear idea of how to run a newspaper and did her very best, considering the pressures put on her by her publishers & the paper’s series of conservative corporate owners, to make the Saratogian both useful and interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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