The Santa Barbara News-Press is ending its carrier delivery service and switching to same-day mail delivery for its newspaper subscribers.
As KEYT News first reported, the change was announced with a flier that went out with last Thursday’s edition.
“Starting next week, the Santa Barbara News-Press will no longer be delivered by your carrier. Unfortunately, labor shortages, higher gas prices, and other current economic challenges have necessitated this change,” the notice said.
“Copies of the Santa Barbara News-Press will continue to be delivered to subscribers’ homes through same-day mail delivery,” Managing Editor Dave Mason told Noozhawk in an email.
He did not respond to questions about the reason for the delivery change or the number of subscribers affected.
KEYT reported that U.S. Postal Service delivery is unavailable on Sundays, so subscribers can pick up a copy of the paper at a newsstand or store, or have it mailed on Monday along with that day’s edition.
The News-Press sells subscriptions to its website, which has a paywall, and subscriptions with online access and daily newspaper delivery.
It is the only seven-day-a-week newspaper in Santa Barbara County. The Santa Maria Times switched from being a daily newspaper to five days a week (Tuesdays through Saturdays) in July 2021.
At the same time, the Santa Maria Times started using same-day mail delivery for its newspapers.
SMT staff said at the time that Assembly Bill 5 was a reason for the change in delivery method.
“AB5 will require newspapers to hire carriers as employees rather than independent contractors starting in January 2022, something that in the existing economic climate is not feasible,” the paper said.
Multi-millionaire Wendy McCaw purchased the Santa Barbara News-Press from the New York Times Company in 2000.
In 2006, during the “News-Press Meltdown,” as it’s known locally, 15 newsroom employees resigned because of perceived “unethical interference” by the publisher and owner.
Eight employees were fired in 2006 and 2007, and remaining newsroom employees later voted to join the Teamsters Union.
More labor disputes ensued, with more than 10 cases before the National Labor Review Board, Noozhawk reported in 2020.
Courts determined the Santa Barbara News-Press violated federal labor law when it fired the eight reporters in retaliation for union activity, and have ordered the organization to pay settlements to former employees.