Chattanooga newspaper moving to digital publishing

September 11, 2021 GMT

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The publisher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press is investing millions of dollars in a plan to move the newspaper’s print edition subscribers to a mostly digital format.

The plan will cease delivery of the print edition of the newspaper by mid-2022 except for Sunday.

The newspaper’s publisher, Walter E. Hussman Jr., has purchased thousands of Apple iPads to give to subscribers.

The newspaper said starting Monday it will begin converting daily print subscribers to an online version of the daily newspaper available on the tablet. The replica edition looks like the print paper but has some additional features and functionality, the newspaper reported.

Hussman said the digital conversion is necessary for the newspaper to remain profitable and continue to serve the Chattanooga area with quality local journalism. He is also chairman of WEHCO Media Inc., which has 10 other daily newspapers, as well as weekly newspapers.

“If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t be able to continue to publish the kind of paper we publish in Chattanooga,” Hussman said. “For us to do this, we can keep our newsroom basically intact. It’s the way for us to maintain good, quality journalism and fulfill our function.”

Hussman started converting other papers to the digital replica format in 2018, starting with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Hussman said the digital plan requires a $6.1 million investment from the company.