MEDFORD — The Mail Tribune has announced it will reduce its circulation delivery area beginning Jan. 1.
Circulation Director John Mihalyo said Wednesday Southern Oregon's largest daily newspaper intends to cease home delivery single-copy sales in California's Siskiyou and Del Norte counties, Curry County and parts of Josephine County, effective Jan. 1.
Letters notifying home-delivery subscribers and single-copy dealers of the change were sent out earlier this week.
The change will reduce the paper's circulation by just under 500 newspapers daily. About 265 subscribers in Siskiyou County, including 191 in Yreka, will be cut off. There are 100 subscribers on the Mail Tribune's coastal route.
An average of 123 single copies — many bought by campers and travelers during the summer — are sold on a daily basis on that route as well.
Faced with declining revenues, newspapers across the country are dropping long-distance deliveries, which have a much higher cost than deliveries closer to the newspapers' production facilities.
"All the majors are cutting back on what is known as vanity circulation — areas where there is not a lot of interest to advertisers," Mihalyo said. "As a result, those areas become less valuable to you."
He said the cost of delivering the Mail Tribune along the Highway 199 corridor in Josephine County and along coastal Highway 101 had increasingly outstripped revenue from the sale of those papers. The cost of delivery to the Yreka area was even more of a losing proposition.
Oregon cities affected by the change are: Selma, O'Brien, Kerby, Cave Junction, Brookings and Gold Beach. In California, circulation will end for: Grenada, Hilt, Hornbrook, Montague, Yreka, Gasquet, Fort Dick, Crescent City and Smith River.
Mihalyo said the newspaper still may be able to find a third-party operator to deliver to some of those markets.
"We are seeking less-costly alternatives to try and salvage at least some distribution in these areas," Mihalyo said.
He said the Sacramento Bee recently ceased circulating north of Redding, Calif., creating a double-whammy for newspaper readers in the Yreka area.
Beginning in January, the Portland-based Oregonian newspaper will stop trucking its Monday through Saturday papers south of Albany. Independent contractors delivering the Oregonian locally will have to go to the mid-Willamette Valley to pick up copies and drive them back to Southern Oregon. The Oregonian will continue to deliver its Sunday paper to Southern Oregon.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail email@example.com.