The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has informed subscribers that it is ending publication of its Tuesday and Saturday newspapers as it prepares for a digital future.
The Post-Gazette had announced plans in June to reduce publication from seven days a week to five in the face of continued challenges to the industry, but had not said what days would be affected.
In a letter to subscribers, the newspaper said it would stop printing papers Tuesdays and Saturdays this week as it begins a "transition to a primarily digital solution."
The Post-Gazette, which dates its founding to the establishment of the weekly Pittsburgh Gazette in 1786, is following in the path of other newspapers around the country that have ended publication of a print product some days of the week or entirely while shifting emphasis to their digital news sites.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review went all-digital in December 2016 and exists online as triblive.com.
Besides declining sales of print editions and a falloff in advertising, newspapers are also facing higher costs for newsprint due to newly imposed tariffs targeting Canadian paper companies.
The Post-Gazette told its subscribers there would be no change in home-delivery rates since "digital publication will continue on all days." A digital subscription is included in a newspaper subscription.
"We do not have plans to reduce our news department; that represents our franchise,'' Allan Block, CEO of Block Communications Inc., the Post-Gazette's parent company, said in June. "We are not going out of business. We are going to the future.''
The Post-Gazette has a daily print circulation of about 80,000 and a Sunday print circulation of about 118,000, according to the most recent quarterly data from the Alliance for Audited Media. Total circulation including digital replica and non-replica editions is about 110,000 daily and 146,000 Sunday.
Earlier this month, according to the Post-Gazette, Block said, "Why are we doing this? Print is going away. If you project even five years into the future you cannot imagine there's a print business that will be vibrant nationally or internationally. We have to acknowledge what is happening. It's time to put our great digital players fully into the game.''
Michael Fuoco, a reporter at the newspaper and president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, which represents about 150 reporters, photographers, artists, editors and others at the Post-Gazette, has expressed opposition to the plan for digital-only publication two days a week, saying the union "is disappointed that those who covet the printed product will be underserved."
He also has called the move "misguided" and "the beginning of the end" for the newspaper on Twitter.