Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to reduce print publishing to 3 days a week
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is slashing two more days of publishing in print as owner Block Communications moves on its plan to phase out print operations.
Starting in October, the 233-year-old newspaper will be published in print just three days a week, owners informed union employees this week.
The decision follows the company’s move last year to reduce publishing in print from seven days a week down to five.
“Within a year’s time, we’ve cut four-sevenths of our print days, and that is beyond disheartening,” said Mike Fuoco, president of the PG’s editorial employee union. “We don’t feel that we have enough of a robust digital presence to cut two more days of print.”
Fuoco shared a copy of the letter he received alerting the union to the changes.
“The Company has decided to eliminate two additional print days on Sept. 30, 2019 as it continues the transition to a digital-only newspaper,” Linda A. Guest, senior human resources manager, wrote in a July 17 letter to the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh. “As part of that transition, the Company will also eliminate the distribution of its delivery partners’ products (USAT, NYT, WSJ, etc.).”
It was not immediately clear which days would be cut.
More bad news: @PittsburghPG today has notified @michaelafuoco and @PGNewsGuild that it will cut TWO MORE DAYS OF PRINT on Sept. 30, meaning we will print for home delivery only three days a week. Unclear which days will go in this all-digital strategy. pic.twitter.com/IqrNr3Nxdk
— Jonathan Silver (@jsilverinpgh) July 18, 2019
In late August, the Post-Gazette stopped publishing its print edition on Tuesdays and Saturdays, citing rising production costs and the goal of increasing its focus on digital news platforms.
The changes have disappointed newsroom employees in the midst of tense negotiations over contract renewals and health care benefits dating to more than two years ago. Fuoco said that employees have not received a raise in 13 years, and that talks with Block executives have gone “nowhere.”
“As journalists, we enjoy our work being read, whatever the platform. We just feel that this is going to hurt us, given the demographics of Allegheny County, which skews older,” Fuoco said. “We thought that they would be a little more cautious. We knew that they were going to be cutting more, and we were hoping it was going to be one day, so when we heard it was going to be two, it was twice the gut punch.”
A Block spokesperson could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
“We continue on a daily basis to produce exemplary work,” Fuoco said. “We’re professionals. We can compartmentalize how we’re treated by this company and what our mission is for our community.”
The news organization’s roots date to the late 1700s, when the PG became the first daily newspaper published west of the Allegheny Mountains.
The Block family of the Toledo-based Block Communications acquired the PG in 1926.
In 2017, the Post Gazette stopped home delivery to certain customers to save costs, including customers in Westmoreland County.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .