Don’t tell Shaun Lumachi that print is dead.
The publisher of the Long Beach Post website is launching a monthly print edition next month with hopes of expanding it to a weekly newspaper.
“We don’t believe that print is dying,” said Lumachi, whose site, LBPost.com, debuted in 2007. “We see print as changing. In order to survive in this industry, we have to stay ahead of the curve.”
With former well-established printed publications ranging from the Seattle Post Intelligencer to U.S. News and World Report having transitioned to online-only news organizations, the Long Beach experiment is trying to buck a trend.
“The print products that are dying are the ones that aren’t changing with reader demand,” said Lumachi. “Readers want more visual and innovation so we are going to give that. We will feature stories unique to print that will also run online and also pull from our online products to recap the month’s most popular online stories in print.”
Online traffic for the Post is at 106,000 readers per month. The tabloid-format monthly will have 12 to 16 pages an issue divided into news, features and sports sections. Approximately 25,000 copies of the April issue will be available at various coffee houses and other retail locations.
The Post’s experiment comes as a Pew Research Center study released last week shows that the proportion of adults who said they get their news online increased from 29 percent in 2008 to 34 percent this year.
The Long Beach online site isn’t the first in Southern California to try to expand to print. Last August saw the launch of BlogDowntown Weekly, a Thursday print edition of the popular BlogDowntown.com site that has been around since 2005.
After 24 issues, BlogDowntown’s print edition was forced to go on hiatus due to poor ad sales, according to publisher Eric Richardson.
“You’re supposed to have a great December to balance out a bad January and February, but we had a bad December,” Richardson said. “We had great feedback in terms of design, and people were excited about it, but we just didn’t have ad sales nailed and that is still going to be your make-or-break. We’re still plugging along (online) and continue with the quest for revenue and ways to be sustainable.”
Lumachi did not disclose how much it will cost to launch the print version of the Post but did say no new investors were needed: “We do have savings that we will pull from. Our strategy is to sell enough advertising.”
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