The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the last daily newspaper in the city — announced it would cut print circulation from seven to five days a week. A digital-only version will post on Tuesday and Saturdays, beginning August 26.
The paper cited rising operational costs as the impetus for the change.
In a story posted on the site and published on the paper’s front page August 12, David M. Shribman, executive editor at the Post-Gazette stated: “By eliminating two days of print the week of Aug. 26 and undertaking a full-throttle commitment to the digital delivery of news, the Post-Gazette is reflecting Pittsburgh’s own transformation from traditional manufacturing into a high-tech center...”
According to Shribman’s piece, the new circulation restrictions follow the 2017 introduction of a daily digital edition of the paper that featured enhanced photography, video and other features called PG NewsSlide.
The company anticipates using the technology to work directly with local businesses to incorporate direct sales through its ads across the Post-Gazette site.
Like many other troubled papers, the Post-Gazette has lost circulation and advertising revenue resulting in annual losses over the past decade.
Interestingly, one business that said it won’t see much of a decline following the scaled back production is the funeral industry. A representative from one area funeral home said 20% of his clients decline a newspaper obituary, relying more on social media and funeral home websites for information about visitation hours and funerals.
The Post-Gazette will still offer to publish electronic obituaries and death notices on Tuesdays, Saturdays and holidays for a $75 flat rate, but the reaction from the funeral industry points to traditional businesses turning to digital means for communication themselves.
Ohio-based Block Communications Inc., the parent company of the Post-Gazette, stated it remains committed to the long-term health of its news presence in Pittsburgh and will not cut back its news reporting.
The news of the scaled-back circulation comes as the Post-Gazette enters the final phase of a three-part “self-examination” project in cooperation with news organizations in Detroit, Omaha and Sacramento, with the goal of transforming itself into a digital news organization.
Separately, Sewell Chan has been named deputy managing editor of the Los Angeles Times. In this role, he will oversee a team of journalists that develops content across the paper’s digital, video and print platforms.
Prior to this, Chan spent 14 years at The New York Times, most recently as international news editor. He previously served as a reporter and deputy editor of the Op-Ed page. He will report to executive editor Norman Pearlstine.