The News-Sentinel is ending distribution of its afternoon newspaper as it shifts to a digital platform, Fort Wayne Newspapers announced Thursday.
Subscribers will still be offered News-Sentinel content in the morning Journal Gazette, as part of a renewal of the two newspapers' joint operating agreement.
The change is expected sometime in October.
Fort Wayne Newspapers is the business agent for The Journal Gazette, which is locally owned, and The News-Sentinel, which is owned by Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, West Virginia. Both papers have offices at 600 W. Main St.
The updated joint operating agreement, which was extended through 2075, allows pages produced by The News-Sentinel to reach more readers through Journal Gazette distribution.
“Tracing our roots back more than 180 years, we are proud to remain a key part of the Fort Wayne community by bringing our readers the news they care about and an independent voice to the issues that impact them,” Mike Christman, president and CEO of Fort Wayne Newspapers and publisher of The News-Sentinel, said in a prepared statement. “The News-Sentinel will now have the ability to reach a wider range of audiences in Fort Wayne, while focusing exclusively on creating great, engaging content.”
Maintaining its commitment to the unique character and voice of The News-Sentinel was a priority, Christman said.
The News-Sentinel staff will direct and design NS content that will appear in The Journal Gazette. The newspapers will continue to maintain separate and competitive newsrooms.
The Sentinel will have up to 10 pages total to publish Monday through Friday and up to four on Saturdays. It will not publish Sundays.
“For more than 150 years, Fort Wayne has been a two-newspaper town,” said Julie Inskeep, publisher of The Journal Gazette. “That is a rare occurrence these days, but something we value. So when The News-Sentinel made the decision to move its focus to digital, we agreed to publish some of their content, assuring our readers will continue to benefit from two voices on the issues that matter most to them.
“And, as we both drive our independent digital initiatives, The Journal Gazette helps assure that The News-Sentinel content reaches a much larger print readership as well.”
News-Sentinel content appearing in The Journal Gazette will be clearly identified as News-Sentinel material. In employee meetings Thursday, Christman said that content has yet to be decided.
Journal Gazette Editor Sherry Skufca said she supports the change.
“We are happy to work with the NS as it plots its course for the future,” she said. “As the locally owned newspaper in Fort Wayne, we take seriously our commitment to the community and to doing our part to preserve two strong and independent journalistic voices.”
Newspapers shifting to online production isn't new. Detroit's two daily newspapers slashed home delivery to three days a week in 2008. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer became Internet-only in 2009.
This week, New York's The Village Voice announced it is going digital only.