MN’s largest evening newspaper cuts printed paper

Another newspaper in Minnesota is yielding to the economics of the newspaper industry and cutting back the number of days it issues a printed paper.

The Rochester Post Bulletin has announced it will no longer issue a printed Friday edition. It will publish only five days a week.

The paper’s publisher tried to portray the decision as a step ahead for quality journalism.

“Having a modern business model that fits today’s world will allow us to improve the paper overall, while protecting our readers from price increases for the foreseeable future” said Publisher Len R. Small. “Everybody knows the world is changing, and we intend to prepare for a better future.”

Is the business better off eliminating the printed product? Or is it the beginning of the end?

The Post Bulletin claims its analysis of other papers in the nation that have cut back print production shows it can be successful, although it didn’t say what constitutes “success.”

The New Orleans Times Picayune was one of the first large newspapers to give up on print when it made the move to three-days-a week in 2012. It cut the number of journalists while insisting the journalism would be even better, a neat trick.

A year later, another newspaper (The Advocate out of Baton Rouge) started a New Orleans edition to mixed success.

The Times Picayune’s online daily replacement — — is still going and when tornadoes struck the area earlier this year, it patted itself on the back for being better than the old method.

In the PB’s case, it will move content — obituaries, for example — to other days of the week while increasing content on its website.

“Plainly stated, quality local journalism comes at a cost, but is an investment for both our future and the community’s,” Kristy Mintz, the Post Bulletin’s marketing director, said in today’s notice. “Subscription fees only pay a small portion of the cost of delivering the news. Income from ad revenue is changing. A five-day press schedule is the most viable option for maintaining and improving our 24/7 news coverage and developing, one of the most visited news websites in Minnesota, with over 500,000 monthly readers.”

The Post Bulletin is the second paper in Minnesota to cut production this year. In April, the Globe of Worthington — formerly the Worthington Daily Globe — began publishing only two days a week, ending a streak of daily papers in the city that began in 1872.