The Christian Index will transition primarily to an online presence Jan. 1, the Georgia Baptist Convention’s newsjournal has announced.
“Bowing to the pressures of an increasingly difficult economic climate with rising production and distribution costs — coupled with declining revenue from circulation and advertising — The Index will produce its final biweekly print edition on Dec. 24,” the paper reported in its Sept. 3 print edition.
“But that doesn’t mean [The Index] will cease publishing,” the paper stated in a front-page news story. “It will simply move to the web with a never-ending news cycle no longer tied to print deadlines and ever-increasing mailing costs. It will also be a free product with no charge for online access.”
“This shift will free up Cooperative Program funds that will be redirected toward evangelism and church planting efforts in Georgia and far beyond its borders,” The Index stated.
The Christian Index describes itself as “the nation’s oldest continuously published Christian newspaper,” dating back to 1822 when famed missions supporter Luther Rice started it as the Columbia Star in Washington, D.C. The paper first became part of the Georgia convention in 1840; the convention sold and repurchased the paper in the following years, acquiring it for the final time in 1919.
J. Gerald Harris, the paper’s editor, noted in an accompanying editorial various factors that made it “increasingly inevitable that The Index would have to become an electronic publication only,” including:
— The Index “has been losing subscribers and becoming more dependent on the Cooperative Program” during the past seven years.
— “The cost of newsprint and postage has continued to increase. By going to an online edition only we will save almost $320,000 annually in printing and mailing costs.”
— “More and more people are reading the news on their smartphones, tablets, and computers.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Christian Index/BP Staff