The West Yellowstone News will no longer be published by Big Sky Publishing as of Sept. 2. The newspaper and its website will close unless a buyer is found.
Big Sky Publishing president Stephanie Pressly shared the news with News staff on Monday. “This decision in no way reflects the excellent, award-winning journalism being produced by the News’ staff,” said Pressly. “It’s a business decision that’s been under consideration for quite some time.”
Pressly said that since the economic downturn in 2008, the News’ financial performance has continued to decline, despite the company’s best efforts to reverse the trend. The majority of operating revenue comes from advertising sales to local businesses. Advertising has declined dramatically as businesses juggle priorities in tough economic times.
“We are not in the financial position to continue producing the publication under these circumstances,” said Pressly.
“The town is very interested in the content of the News each week, but it’s necessary to have advertising support in order to make ends meet,” said Pressly. “Even adding paid subscriptions would not counter the deficit.” The News is primarily distributed for free, in addition to 180 paid copies delivered by mail.
Moving to a digital-only edition was considered, but the company concluded the paper would still lose money under that scenario and considering current advertising revenue.