Commentary

'Pittsburgh Post-Gazette' Cuts Printing To 3 Days A Week

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a daily newspaper whose roots go back 233 years, will cut its print edition by two days amid declining advertising revenue and a shift to digital.

After Sept. 30, subscribers will get a print edition on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The Post-Gazette had cut Tuesdays and Saturdays last August, two months after announcing a shift to go entirely digital.

“The Post-Gazette’s website, post-gazette.com and its e-delivery, PGe, will continue to publish seven days a week, along with its edition-based product for phones and tablets, PG NewsSlide,” Tracey DeAngelo, the Post-Gazette’s Chief Marketing Officer, stated. He also said that the newspaper is “maintaining our news department,” although it’s not clear whether parent company Block Communications can avoid job cuts in printing and distribution.

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Joe Pass Sr., a lawyer for the newspaper’s several unions, including the Newspaper Guild, said the cutback to three days a week means “a whole lot of people are going to lose their jobs,” the Pittsburgh Current reported.

“We were saddened when we went down to two days,” Michael Fuoco, president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, told the local CBS affiliate KDKV. “But we learned to live with it. But to cut another two days and only publish three days a week, we are crestfallen by this.”

Andrew Conte, founding director of the Point Park Center for Media Innovation, says the disappearance of newspapers is happening all across the county. “It’s devastating to communities,” Conte said. “Not only do they lose their news, it erodes everything else in terms of civic participation," he told KDKA TV.

The family-owned Post-Gazette made news earlier this year when its publisher-editor-in-chief John Robinson Block subjected newsroom staff members to a tirade. He was angered by a union sign in the newsroom that said “Shame on the Blocks.”

The Post-Gazette’s less frequent publishing schedule is another sign of the difficulties facing local newspapers. In March, the family-owned Reading Eagle filed for bankruptcy protection and was bought at auction by MediaNews Group, also known as Digital First Media, for $5 million.

Newsrooms shed almost one-quarter of their employees from 2008 to 2017, according to Pew Research Center — and that was before the loss of 3,000 jobs announced so far this year. The closure of 1,800 newspapers in the past 15 years has meant that half of U.S. counties are lucky if they have one newspaper.

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