News

The Post-Standard to deliver 3 days a week beginning in January; Syracuse Media Group formed

The Post-Standard announced Tuesday that it would reduce its daily print delivery schedule to three days a week and join with Syracuse.com to form Syracuse Media Group beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

The newspaper will publish and deliver full editions Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. A smaller version of The Post-Standard will be available the other four days on newsstands across Onondaga County, according to an article published Tuesday by The Post-Standard. The Post-Standard is owned by Advance Publications, Inc., a media company run by Donald Newhouse and S.I. Newhouse Jr.

The Syracuse Media Group will control all publishing and make all decisions affecting The Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. The new company will focus on producing 24-hour digital news content, according to the article.

“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,” Stephen Rogers, editor and publisher of The Post-Standard and the new chairman of Syracuse Media Group, told employees in prepared remarks.

The Syracuse Media Group will move from The Post-Standard building at Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse to a new location. Advance Central Services Syracuse will remain in The Post-Standard building and oversee the publishing, accounting and human resource end of Syracuse Media Group, according to the article.

David Rubin, professor and dean emeritus at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, said he wasn’t surprised by the move to a reduced print schedule, given changes made to other Newhouse publications.

“It’s clear this was the direction [the Newhouse family] was going,” he said. “But given the Newhouse family’s long-standing emotional ties to the city, I thought it might not happen.”

Whether the newspaper is able to continue to adequately cover the city depends entirely on the quality of what remains and whether The Post-Standard will be able to rebuild its business model. The reduced print schedule will result in a loss of print ads and, since Syracuse.com has no paywall, online ads will need to increase, Rubin said.

“The question is whether there will still be enough good journalists and enough revenue to support them,” he said.

Rubin said the effect of the Internet on the communication industry is something he has been discussing in his communication classes. The move will not really affect students though, he said, because most students already get their news online.

“Instead, they might be asking, ‘What took them so long?’” he said. “Anyone who has taken my class in the last five years would know this was coming.”

Roy Gutterman, an associate professor of communications law and journalism at Newhouse, said he will miss getting his copy of The Post-Standard every morning.

“I’m so accustomed to going to my front porch and picking up a paper,” he said. “I still have a copy delivered everyday. I’ll really miss having that hard copy.”

Gutterman said the changes at The Post-Standard are an important reminder for students that journalism is still a business. Even though journalists talk about the need to cover the community, foster democracy and inform the public, these publications still need to generate revenue, he said.

Other daily newspapers operating under Advance Publications, including The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, announced a switch to a three-day print schedule on May 24. The Patriot News, in Harrisburg, Pa., also announced on Tuesday it will move to a three-day delivery schedule.

Before entering law school and then coming to Newhouse, Gutterman worked at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, another Newhouse family publication.

“My experience with the Newhouse company was a positive one,” he said. “But it was a very different world then.”

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