HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Newspapers in Harrisburg, Pa., and Syracuse, N.Y., announced Tuesday they will switch to a three-days-a-week publication schedule in January as their corporate owner continues its shift away from daily printed papers.
At the Post-Standard of Syracuse, editor and publisher Stephen Rogers told employees that newspapers' economic model has become unviable. The Post-Standard will publish on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
"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," Rogers said. "This is an irreversible trend. We either adjust, or we perish."
At The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, which won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year, there will be an expansion of around-the-clock news coverage online, said publisher John Kirkpatrick.
"We are not making this move lightly," Kirkpatrick wrote in an email announcing the decision. "We understand how important the daily print paper is to a large number of people in our region. However, this is a major step to make sure we are leading, not trailing, in the world of innovation and solutions."
The newspaper will continue to publish on Sundays, while the other two days have not been determined.
The two newspapers are owned by Advance Publications Inc. Four other Advance newspapers, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans and the three largest papers in Alabama, said in June that they were switching to three-times-a-week publication. Those changes were accompanied by hundreds of layoffs.
In Harrisburg, Kirkpatrick said jobs will almost certainly be reduced, but those decisions are several weeks away and the number editorial content producers, such as reporters and photographers, would likely remain about the same.
"They understand the power of the digital world and the profound shift in the ways readers get their news and advertisers get their message out," Kirkpatrick told The AP, after meeting with the staff.
The Patriot-News won a Pulitzer Prize this year for its coverage of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. Its Sunday circulation has fallen to 118,000 from 176,000 in 1992, and Kirkpatrick said unique visitors to its website, pennlive.com, increased 80 percent in the past year.
A phone message seeking comment left at the parent company was not immediately returned.
An Advance newspaper in Michigan, The Ann Arbor News, was replaced by AnnArbor.com in 2009 and went to twice-weekly print publication, and the company has made similar changes to other papers in that state.