Pittsburgh’s last remaining daily newspaper, the 232-year-old Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, notified readers that it is discontinuing publication of its Tuesday and Saturday newspapers as it prepares for a digital transition, said The Hill.
The Post-Gazette had announced plans in June to consolidate the paper from seven days a week to five days, as the industry as a whole continues to shrink.
The Post-Gazette, which dates back to 1786, is following a trend that we warned about earlier this month, in which, newspapers around the country are collapsing as the print-apocalypse expands.
“It’s the year 2018, and with the way people review and expect to review information and news, we think we’re doing the right thing,” said Keith Wilkowski, vice president of legal and government affairs for Block Communications Inc., the company based in Toledo, Ohio, that owns the Post-Gazette, on June 27.
“We will be publishing a (digital) newspaper seven days a week,” Wilkowski added. “And, frankly, we reach more people via online than through the print publication.”
A union that represents roughly 150 Post-Gazette newsroom employees, The Guild of Pittsburgh, lashed out at the newspaper in a tweet, calling the cutback “an insane, misguided plan” and “the beginning of the end.”
I am so sad. This inane, misguided plan is the beginning of the end for the @PittsburghPG. Allan Block cares nothing for Pittsburgh, its people, its newspaper of 232 years. All he cares about is $$$, which is what this is all about—dumping jobs. https://t.co/CcaYF1nNGB
— Michael A. Fuoco (@michaelafuoco) August 12, 2018
According to a Pew Research report published in early August, there were about 88,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers, and videographers – working across five industries that generate news: broadcast news, cable, newspapers, radio, and other information services in 2017. That number is down from 114,000 employees in 2008, which represents a loss of about 27,000 jobs (-23.6 percent).
Glancing through the report, what caught our attention — is the decline in newspaper employees. So it is not a coincidence that Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has made cuts to its daily operations.
Pew mentioned the number of employees at newspapers across the US collapsed -45 percent over the last ten years. Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics survey data, the nonpartisan American fact tank reports roughly 71,000 workers were employed at newspapers in 2008, while the number stands at only 39,000 in 2017.
“Of the five industries studied, notable job growth occurred only in the digital-native news sector,” reported Pew.
“Since 2008, the number of digital-native newsroom employees increased by 79%, from about 7,400 workers to about 13,000 in 2017. This increase of about 6,000 total jobs, however, fell far short of offsetting the loss of about 32,000 newspaper newsroom jobs during the same period,” the fact tank added.
The decline in newspaper employment also means the industry is rapidly shrinking. In 2008, newspaper newsroom employees were about 62 percent of all news workers. By 2017, they stand at only 45 percent.
That study found that nine of the 16 newspapers nationwide with circulations of 250,000 or more, or 56 percent, had experienced layoffs during a 16-month period ending in April.
The print side of newspapers has continued struggling to stay afloat as free and more convenient digital options are readily available for consumers, which explains precisely why the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had to eliminate two days of print from its weekly rotation and transition into digital news. What happened in Pittsburgh is only the beginning, the print-apocalypse is here, and it is coming to a city near you.