From New York to L.A., and now Wilmington, newspapers are being forced to cut back on employees and even circulation. They are facing growing competition from the web, and it has many people concerned about the future of print journalism. Bill Bolduc, UNCW Communications professor, said, "Some scholars predict that within 15 to 20 years we won't have newspapers anymore." "Revenue is going down, because advertising is going elsewhere, readership is going down. The younger demographic of newspaper readers is definitely declining," said Bolduc. Those younger readers are turning to the internet. More than 325,000 people visit the Star News' website each month. The newspaper has cut 15 jobs and beginning August 5, will no longer offer home delivery in Sampson and Onslow counties. Publisher Robert Gruber wouldn't go on camera, but offered this statement: "Effective August 5th, the Star-News will no longer home deliver newspapers to homes in Sampson and Onslow Counties. Retail outlets and rack delivery will continue to be available to residents in the effected areas. In addition, readers may access www.starnewsonline.com as an additional means of obtaining their daily news. The impact from the cost of gasoline to the ever increasing cost of newsprint, which has gone up nearly 25% this year was the catalyst for this decision. The Star-News continues to be the dominant news vehicle in our core markets of New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick Counties. In addition, these continued expense pressures, the general decline of the national economy and some migration of readership to our website, which serves over 325,000 unique visitors per month forced us to evaluate the entire organization. Our determination was that 15 positions, half of which are part time, that are currently vacant at the Star-News will not be filled." The challenges faced by larger, daily publications like the Star News don't seem to be too much of an issue for smaller, weekly newspapers like the Pender Post. In fact, the paper recently added staff. Publisher Les High says in small communities, people rely on local papers. "It's not just a want, it's something they need to have, whether it be keeping up with school news or the best prices in town," said High. High said the only recent hit the post has taken is a decline in real estate ads. Not only are newspaper staffs getting smaller, but so are the papers themselves. Some papers - including the Star News - have streamlined their content in recent months.
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