June 21, 2013 in City

Oregonian shifts focus to digital

Home delivery to be trimmed to 4 days
Nigel Duara Associated Press
 

PORTLAND – The Oregonian newspaper announced Thursday it is shifting its emphasis to digital delivery of news, reducing home delivery to four days a week and cutting some staff, following in the strategy of other Advance Publication Inc. newspapers, including the Plain Dealer and the Times-Picayune.

Oregon’s largest newspaper will still be printed daily and distributed to metro areas. But home delivery will be reduced from seven days to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and a bonus edition on Saturday. Home delivery subscribers will be able to read a digital edition of the paper online seven days a week.

Publisher N. Christian Anderson III said in a statement published online that the company will be relaunched Oct. 1 as the Oregonian Media Group.

The Oregonian – whose roots date to 1850 – is owned by Advance Publications Inc. Similar steps have been taken at other Advance newspapers.

Advance’s strategy of shifting to digital content began in 2009, when the Ann Arbor News switched from a daily print schedule to printing only on Thursday and Sunday. In New Orleans, the Times-Picayune cut its print edition to three days a week and later supplemented that with a tabloid edition available in stores and newsstands on the days that the full newspaper isn’t printed.

The strategy has endured criticism from industry analysts, who say it provides short-term profits for perhaps five years but alienates younger readers who lose a sense of attachment to the paper.

While some newspapers have erected digital paywalls in an effort to boost their reporting staff and capitalize on their core readers, “Advance is taking the opposite tack,” said industry analyst Ken Doctor.

“They’re giving people significantly less, and they’re going to have a hard time later trying to charge people,” he said.

The Oregonian enjoyed more than a decade of sustained success, including the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and four others, most recently in 2007 for breaking news.

Anderson declined to say how many employees would lose their jobs or not find work with the new companies.

Subscribers will be told about new rates in August.

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