Hayley Mattson 


“Were it left to me to decide if we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson

The landscape of newspapers is in flux, as highlighted by a recent announcement from the editor of the San Luis Obispo Tribune regarding cutbacks on printed editions starting April 15. This decision mirrors a larger trend within the industry as newspapers confront the challenges posed by the digital age while striving for sustainability.


In his statement, editor Joe Tarica underscored the newspaper’s transition towards a more digitally focused future. This shift comes as no surprise, given the mounting costs associated with print production, particularly the steady rise in paper prices over recent years. Many newspapers nationwide have found themselves compelled to halt print operations entirely due to these financial pressures.

The Los Angeles Times, for instance, made headlines at the end of January with news of significant layoffs affecting more than 20 percent of its newsroom — one of the largest workforce reductions in its 142-year history. The necessity for these cuts was attributed to the paper’s inability to sustain annual losses ranging from $30 million to $40 million without commensurate progress in building higher readership, essential for attracting advertising and subscriptions.

Similarly, the historic Santa Barbara News-Press, a venerable institution in California’s newspaper landscape, ceased publishing in July of last year after its owner declared bankruptcy. Despite transitioning to an online-only format in April 2023, the publication’s digital presence also came to an abrupt end when owner and publisher Wendy McCaw filed for bankruptcy. 

As the publisher of multiple newspapers along the coast, the significance of our print editions resonates deeply with me. They serve not only as a historical record but as cherished documentation of local events within our region. Our newspapers offer a tangible account of our community’s narrative during specific periods, providing a unique perspective that digital platforms often fail to capture.

Despite the financial hurdles we have faced, our dedication to independent journalism remains steadfast. Independent journalism is fundamental to the very essence of society, provided it upholds impartiality and truthfulness, untainted by any undue influence or bias. Safeguarding the integrity and autonomy of journalism is imperative, ensuring that communities have unfettered access to information that is accurate and reliable.

Over the past few years, I have fielded inquiries regarding the potential consolidation of our two North County newspapers. However, the decision transcends mere practicality, delving into the rich legacies and historical significance associated with each individual masthead. The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press boast distinct histories and community connections that merit their preservation as different entities.

Beyond the realms of editorial and journalistic considerations, the choice to persist with printing newspapers bears substantial implications for employment and livelihoods within our community. From printers to postal services and delivery teams, the newspaper industry sustains a network of individuals who rely on its operations for stable incomes. Acknowledging this, I am steadfast in my commitment to upholding print editions for as long as they remain viable. 

We are immensely grateful for the support from our advertisers, subscribers, readers, and the community at large. I am steadfast in my commitment to continue printing for as long as it remains feasible. Even if we become the last newspapers to print in the great state of California, we will persevere in delivering valuable content weekly to our readers.