Halifax Chronicle Herald confirms it will cease publication of Sunday edition

HALIFAX – The Halifax Chronicle Herald, Canada’s largest independently owned daily newspaper, has confirmed it will stop publishing its Sunday edition next month.

Mark Lever, hired as company president and CEO only a year ago, said Wednesday there will be no job losses after the final Sunday edition rolls off the presses April 14.

Instead, the paper’s Saturday edition and online presence Sunday will be expanded to accommodate more local content and new columnists, he said.

“To the naysayers that see this as the continuing demise of print products, you’ll see it on Day 1 as the evolution of what print media can do,” Lever said in an interview.

“Print journalism will be around for a very long time, but it needs to adapt like any form of business.”

Though the Sunday edition was considerably smaller than its Saturday cousin, Lever said the Sunday paper did not see a decline in readership over the years.

He said the changes are part of a larger redesign of the entire newspaper and a “freshening” of its website, which was redesigned in October 2011.

The newspaper’s union said earlier this month that employees were told of the plan to scrap the Sunday edition.

The 189-year-old newspaper is the most widely circulated daily in the Atlantic region. Its Sunday edition first appeared 15 years ago in response to growing competition from the Halifax Daily News, which folded five years ago.

At the time, Lever said, managers had considered killing the Herald’s Sunday edition, but that decision was put on hold.

“The Sunday product is really a baby when you look at the history of this company,” he said. “It was created at a time when we had some competition from a Sunday product.”

Lever said the revamped Saturday paper will offer more content than the old Saturday and Sunday editions combined.

“We’re very confident that this rethought weekend product will be a two-day read,” he said.

As for the website, Lever is promising it will deliver more exclusive content — particularly on Sundays — and it will be more engaging for readers, offering more opportunities for feedback and live chats.