Another one bites the dust

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Back in June I used this column to question if there will be a daily newspaper in our future. Last week, our neighbors in Syracuse learned the answer to that question the hard way concerning the future of The Post-Standard.

Newhouse Newspapers, who announced in June that it would stop printing the daily paper The New Orleans Times-Picayune and its Alabama newspapers in Mobile and Birmingham, said last week it would end the daily distribution of two more of its newspapers, The Post-Standard in Syracuse and The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa.

Both papers will begin merging their content with their local news web sites, syracuse.com and pennlive.com, while delivering the printed newspaper only three days a week. Starting in January, The Post-Standard will publish only on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The news prompted hundreds of comments by readers on both web sites, who expressed their concern about life without a local, seven-day-a-week newspaper. One such note said: “We grew up with the paper, and Dad reading us the Funnies every Sunday. Every Christmas, Dad also read us the famous response that Francis Parcellus Church of the NY Sun wrote to little 8-yr. old Virginia Hanlon: ‘YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS. He exists as certainly as love and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas, how dreary would be the world if there were No Santa Claus. This news feels like ‘NO SANTA CLAUS’... another tradition gone.”

Another person commented: “As we bemoan the death of the daily paper, brace yourselves for what is certain to be a very painful round of layoffs. I suspect we are going to lose some of our favorite columnists and reporters in the name of cost-reduction. I know I wrote this yesterday, but in New Orleans they cut 49 percent of the newsroom and in Birmingham, 60 percent. This does not bode well for the more senior staffers.”

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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