Post-Gazette To Stop Publishing Two Days A Week

Jun 28, 2018

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has announced it will stop publishing the newspaper two days a week.

According to a letter sent to the newspaper's employee union Wednesday, the newspaper is shrinking its printing schedule as part of a plan to become a digital news organization.

Christine Schmidt of the Nieman Journalism Lab noted the Post-Gazette's decision comes as newspapers continue to struggle financially.

“I think for [the Post-Gazette] it’s a smart sort of tactical move,” she said of the paper’s decision to scale back print operations. “Hopefully, it’s better than laying off reporters and journalists and different workers.”

 

Schmidt noted, however, that low-income and elderly people might have less access to online news – either because they don’t have internet or are accustomed to reading the news in print.

 

The change will go into effect Aug. 25. Officials have not specified which days will be cut.

Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, said typically Sunday editions carry about half of a paper's print advertising revenue. Print editions on Mondays and Tuesdays carry much less advertising. 

"So, you know, you're probably not necessarily losing a great deal of advertising revenue," he said.

Post-Gazette Senior Human Resources Manager Linda Guest said in the letter to the union, "the nature of our operations will change substantially."

Edmonds pointed out that not many newspapers have gone the way of the Post-Gazette -- or Pittsburgh Tribune-Review before it -- by eliminating some or all print editions.

"Most metro papers have decided that, at least for the time being, print plus digital is the way to go," Edmonds said. He said it's not clear whether papers do better financially when they print fewer days.

Edmonds noted it was "odd" that the Post-Gazette's newsroom union broke the news that the paper will reduce its print circulation.

"The important audience to know about this are your readers," Edmonds said, "Saying, ‘We’re going to do this, but we’re not going to say yet what days of the week we’re talking about’ - that doesn’t seem like a very orderly process to me.”

The decision to partially halt printing comes shortly after longtime cartoonist Rob Rogers was fired. The editorial page had stopped running his illustrations.

Editorial decisions have also drawn public criticism from its news staff -- even leading the reporters' union and non-unionized editors to take out ads in their own paper

The decision to cut back on print circulation, Edmonds said, is "maybe another signal that the owners are asserting themselves more."

The owner of the 232-year-old paper is Ohio-based Block Communications.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story was updated at 5:37 pm on June 28 to include comment from Christine Schmidt.