It was a good run, but our time is up

For the past 23 years and four months, it has been our mission to publish CrossRoadsNews so we could tell the stories of the people who live, work and play in south DeKalb County.

Over the years, we chronicled the ups and downs of our community, which became our home in 1993; championed its good causes, celebrated its triumphs, documented its missteps, investigated its Achilles heel; and spotlighted the work of people making a difference.

But we’ve reached a crossroads of our own, and we had to make a difficult decision. 

This issue will be our final print edition.

Why is this happening?

Blame it on the fourth increase in our printing costs since October – the direct result of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Canadian paper mills that manufacture newsprint used by the newspaper industry.

These tariffs have resulted in up to a 30 percent increase in the printing bills of newspapers across Georgia and the nation, at a time when we have been been struggling to cover costs in the digital era.

Blame it on the migration of advertising revenues to the internet, especially Google, Facebook and other social media. They get the money while we struggle to cover Board of Commissioners, City Hall and School Board meetings with dwindling revenues to pay reporters, newspaper carriers, the light bill and so on.

While we were never short of stories to write, very few wanted to buy advertising – the only product that we sell.

And even as our in-boxes overflowed with press releases, many were the days that we opened the doors and made no sale.

The bottom line is that even though we have more readers today than ever, in print and online, we have not been able to generate enough revenues to make ends meet.

Perhaps because our newspaper was “free” to pick up, few readers saw us as a normal business, with weekly payrolls to meet and printing bills every week.

Perhaps if more people saw us as a business, they would have supported us with their advertising and subscription dollars.

We are not alone in this new reality.

All around us, newspapers are folding because they are no longer commercially viable in the age of the internet and tariffs.

Just this April, five Virginia community newspapers – the Hopewell News, the Hanover Herald Progress in Ashland, the Caroline Progress in Bowling Green, the Clinch Valley Times in St. Paul and the Tazewell County Free Press in Richlands, all serving small towns, counties and cities – closed their doors permanently.

Compared to them, we are barely toddlers. Their average life span was 134 years, and they had served their communities for a combined 673 years.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we know that no business can stay in business if it is not making money.

Neither can we.

– Jennifer Parker, Editor/Publisher