Headlining a front page story with the words "Newspaper to move focus to digital," the New Orleans Times-Picayune announced its plans to cut newspaper circulation down to just three days per week. In doing so, it joins dozens of other newspapers that have cut their print editions to save money.
More from GlobalPost: New Orleans Times-Picayune to publish just 3 times per week
Newspaper ad revenues dropped precipitously after 2000, according to Professor Mark J. Perry of the University of Michigan. Adjusted for inflation, "estimated revenues of $20.7 billion in 2011 will be the lowest annual amount spent on newspaper advertising since $19.5 billion in 1951," he wrote.
Poynter notes that newspapers are the fastest-shrinking industry in the United States.
The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and other storied newspapers have shrunk the dimensions of their newspapers as a cost-cutting measure. Some papers shrunk from 13.5 inches to 11 or 12 inch widths, wrote The New York Times.
Other papers have shifted focus away from print and instead redirected efforts toward digital news; the Christian Science Monitor no longer produces a newspaper and instead prints a once-weekly magazine and updates its website more frequently. The Ann Arbor News also shifted to digital after nearly 200 years of printing, opening AnnArbor.com.
"The thinking in New Orleans is that frequency cutbacks can keep the brand in front of readers while enabling the cost reductions to take place and still preserving enough margin to invest in new digital products," wrote Newspaper Death Watch, a blog that tracks journalism downsizing.
Advance Publishing, which owns the Times-Picayune and other papers, "has been the most aggressive in the industry" in trying to figure out how to maintain profitability as ad revenues collapse. The company was also behind the Ann Arbor News downsizing. The Washington Post reported that "executives say they’re encouraged by what they’ve seen so far: The cutback on print has driven more readers and advertisers to the papers’ Web sites."