Advance Cuts More Newspaper Schedules
The controversial changes at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, where the publishing schedule was cut to three days a week, may prove to be a harbinger of similar
reductions at other newspapers across the country. This week, Advance Publications announced that it is also slashing the frequency at newspapers in New York State and Pennsylvania.
Advance said the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, PA will only be printed three days a week beginning in January 2012 -- including Sunday and probably two other weekdays -- as yet undecided. The Post-Standard of Syracuse, NY will be published on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, according to the newspaper.
In a memo circulated to employees, Post-Standard Editor and Publisher Stephen A. Rogers was blunt about the challenges facing that newspaper and the industry in general: “If we simply maintain the status quo, if we continue to do just what we have been doing -- no matter how well we do it -- The Post-Standard would face extinction in a matter of years. The economic model that has supported The Post-Standard and newspapers around the country is no longer sustainable. We are living through a digital revolution … This is an irreversible trend. We either adjust, or we perish.”
As in New Orleans and Alabama, Advance is also forming new companies to publish the newspapers and their associated Web sites, called the Syracuse Media Group and the PA Media Group. The latter will be formed by the merger of the Patriot-News and Pennlive.com.
Judging by the fate of the Louisiana and Alabama newspapers, these moves will likely be followed by extensive layoffs at some point.
In May, Advance announced that it would cut the publication schedules for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, as well as three Alabama newspapers, The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and The Mobile Press-Register. Not long after the Times-Picayune cut a third of its staff, and Advance also announced that it would lay off 400 employees from the Alabama newspapers by the end of September.