The Paris Express has closed its downtown office to the public effective immediately.
This decision was a result of the Express' parent company, Gannett, reducing its workforce across national publications, due to the impacts on advertising revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has annihilated a crucial stream of income for community newspapers.
A spokesperson for Gannett said, "With the recent loss of the sales support from the Paris Express, we will have to make significant changes to the way the office works accommodating for the reduction in manpower."
Technology has enabled advertising and editorial staff to be mobile, which eliminates the need for in-person transactions between the community and staff.
"Looking back over the history of the Paris Express, in regards to company changeovers, there has never been a time such as this, even when the Paris Express and the Paris Progress merged into one paper," said Express Editor Miranda Holman.
The Paris Express will be collaborating with an ad agency call center out of Oklahoma for all local advertising needs. The Times Record office in Ft. Smith will take over any subscription or circulation questions or concerns, including newspaper delivery issues.
At that time, the Paris Express will have a new phone number for all ad and subscription related questions or concerns, but until then, you can contact theTimes Record customer service at 479-785-7700 option 0. All payments should be mailed to:
c/o Times Record
PO Box 1359
Fort Smith, AR 72902
The Paris Express will keep the office number for news and editorial concerns.
“For right now, we will continue to use the dropbox by the front door of the office for payments or correspondence to be dropped in.”
Holman said she is disheartened by these difficult circumstances but is devoted as ever to bringing readers community coverage.
"It is devastating to lose staff due to this crisis. The paper would not be what it is without our staff and the community's contributions, but it is not feasible to run an office on minimal manpower."
Currently, no changes are being made regarding the publication of the paper. The Express will still be published weekly and the level of commitment to the Paris and surrounding area communities remains unchanged.
"I know that this is an inconvenience to our subscribers and customers, and I ask that you bear with us as we make the necessary changes. Your support has always been integral to our role in the community, and we need it now more than ever."
For news related questions or concerns, contact the Paris Express at 479-963-2901 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.