Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Post Standard to Reduce Distribution Days

Advance Publications, owners of the Syracuse Post Standard, along with several other daily newspapers, has decided that the Post Standard will switch to three-day-a-week distribution come January 2013.  This is becoming a common trend in the newspaper industry, particularly with Advance Publications, who swept its mighty sword and slashed the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and several other papers, a few months back. 

As a long time fan of the Post-Standard, along with the long gone Herald Journal, I do find this to be a sad moment. I realize in these days of decling profitability in the newspaper industry coupled with the trend of younger audiences relying solely on the internet for news, that this is in many ways inevitable for many markets.  It is highly condemning of the industry when the Post Standard goes through this type of change as its adult readership is ranked #4 in the United States, based on Scarborough research.

A lot of the information contained in the printed version of the paper is now on PostStandard.com, if not all the same information. However, as an invidual who works on a computer all day, I enjoy reading my news in the printed form each morning.  Alas, I know I am part of an ever decreasing minority.

Often these distribution changes also impact the editorial and journalism staffs.  I do hope that the Syracuse Post Standard sports department remains intact, particularly Mike Waters and Donna Dikota, who I enjoy reading regarding Syracuse University basketball.

I do think switching to a reduced number of distribution days is a sure way to destroy the newspaper.  A paper that is distributed only three days a week, forces it readers to use another source the remaining four days a week.  I believe a reader will become comfortable with that other source of news, and will then not bother switching back to the newspaper for the other three days, when the other source provides them the news they need all seven days.  I think a paper has to be 'all in' with seven days of distribution, or just bow out.  Perhaps that is there plan, and this is just an intermediary step to get some money before they close the doors on the printed business.