Loss of 'Daily' Newspapers Accelerating

Article excerpt

It's clear that MinnPost readers appreciate the value of a daily newspaper. So they may be interested to know that growing numbers of American newspapers are moving away from daily publication.

In May, Advance Publications announced that it would shift to three-day-a-week publishing at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and at three newspapers in Alabama.

When the shift takes place in October, New Orleans will be the largest city in the United States without a daily newspaper. Three of the four largest cities in Alabama - Mobile, Huntsville and Birmingham - also will no longer host a daily.

Drastic staff cuts are taking place at the papers, as a new Web- centric business model requires fewer bodies. About half of the news positions at the Times-Picayune are being slashed, although company officials have said they may selectively add more jobs once the dust settles. The newsroom cuts were even more severe in Alabama, with the three newspapers combined losing about two-thirds of their news staffs.

Advance is owned by the wealthy Newhouse family, among whose other holdings are American City Business Journals (including the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal), Conde Nast Publications (including the New Yorker) and Parade magazine.

A couple of years ago, Advance went to three- or four-day publication schedules at a group of small and mid-market newspapers in Michigan - such places as Grand Rapids, Flint and Kalamazoo. And now a weekly in Portland, Ore., is reporting that plans are afoot to shift the Advance-owned Oregonian to less-than-daily publication. …