Bill Lucey tipped me off to discouraging news out of New Orleans. The Times-Picayune, the southern anchor of the Newhouse chain, announced recently that it will publish only three days a week — Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, the days advertisers prefer.
Three other southern dailies in the Newhouse chain will undergo identical cutbacks. The Birmingham News, the Mobile Press-Register, and the Huntsville Times will also print only three days a week.
Three years ago the Ann Arbor News, another Newhouse paper, began publishing only twice a week (Thursdays and Sundays).
The Detroit News continues to publish seven days a week but in 2010 curtailed home delivery to two days a week (Thursdays and Fridays).
In the last five years daily circulation of all American newspapers of at least 25,000 circulation has decreased by 21 per cent.
The Times-Picayune, however, has fallen in half because of New Orleans’ unique problems. In 2005, just before Hurricane Katrina hit, the Times-Picayune’s daily circulation was 261,000. Last month it was down to 132,000. The city’s population has plummeted to 340,000.
Bill Lucey also drew our attention to newspaper developments at the Denver Post, which just eliminated its copy desk, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which just laid off four copy editors and a photographer.
The downward spiral continues. I hear people say that newspapers will become unnecessary because they get their news on-line. But where does “on-line” get its news? From newspaper reporters, what’s who.
And that’s it for now. Let me leave you with this final thought. When I can no longer hold a newspaper in my hands in the morning, call the morgue because I’m jumping off the bridge.