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Times-Picayune transitions into digital

One of the oldest news papers move to online in cost-cutting efforts

One of the nation’s oldest newspapers Times-Picayune announced Thursday is dropping its daily print circulation and moving to print three days a week—starting Fall of 2012—Wednesday, Friday and Sunday editions.

Times-Picayune was established in 1837 in New Orleans and owned by Advance Publications Inc. On Thursday Times-Picayune announced NOLA Media Group to oversee both Times-Picayune and its website NOLA.com.

Print news has been hit hard since the recession. In cost-cutting efforts, many newspapers have cut printing costs and moved to a digital platform, although newspapers have yet to make online advertising as profitable as their print advertising counterparts. The digital transition is nothing new for Advance. Back in 2009 Ann Arbor News, owned by Advance, completely stopped print publications and moved to online-only.

“For us, this isn’t about print versus digital, this is about creating a very successful multi-platform media company that addresses the ever-changing needs of our readers, our online users and our advertisers…This change is not easy but it’s essential for us to remain relevant,” said Randy Siegel, Advance Publications’ president, during an interview with the Associated Press.

University of Alabama journalism department chair, Jennifer Greer states, “To get good quality information is not cheap…What you are seeing is people trying to figure out a business model that works in a digital age.” Siegel hasn’t disclosed how much the company will save, or the job loss versus new hires.

Times-Picayune won a Pulitzer Prize back in 2006 for its valiant reporting during the Hurricane Katrina storm. Despite the storm knocking out the paper’s presses, journalists continued to report online for three days straight under dangerous conditions.

After the Hurricane Katrina’s devastation many residents didn’t come back. “Advertising is suffering at many newspapers, and Picayune has had the difficulty because the population didn’t come back after Katrina,” stated Steven Myers, managing editor at the Poynter Institute.

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