Spotlight Newspapers announced Thursday it is suspending publication of its weekly editions in Saratoga and Schenectady counties so it can focus on its Albany County papers.
The move by the company was necessitated by the economic climate for its advertisers and itself, Publisher John McIntyre said.
Both the Schenectady and Saratoga editions were free, dependent on advertisers for support.
“When you have unpaid subscriptions, that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on advertisers in order to produce the paper,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre also cited U.S. Postal Service regulations requiring a certain-size paper to receive a discounted mailing rate. If they don’t hit that size — 24 pages — mailing costs go up.
The publication, which focuses on “hyper-local” coverage, employs 20 people, McIntyre said. The end of the editions in Schenectady and Saratoga is resulting in reassignments. Total staffing, though, is under evaluation.
Editions in Colonie, Guilderland, Delmar and Loudonville will continue. The Colonie, Guilderland and Delmar editions are paid, while Loudonville is free. The Spotlight plans an increased focus on Loudonville, McIntyre said.
The Albany County paid and free circulation is about 18,000. Schenectady County’s free circulation was about 9,000, while Saratoga County’s was about 10,500.
The paper announced the suspension of service in its Schenectady and Saratoga editions on Thursday. Thursday’s was the final edition of each.
The Spotlight has served communities in Schenectady County for 14 years. Spotlight Newspapers purchased the Scotia-Glenville Journal in 1998 and soon expanded its reach into Niskayuna, Rotterdam and Glenville. It started a paper in Clifton Park in 1999, then added editions in Burnt Hills, Malta, Milton and Saratoga Springs. In recent years, the editions had been combined into county editions.
McIntyre said the company is not closing the door on the communities in Schenectady and Saratoga counties. But, he said, “we definitely need to address the costs.”