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Media analyst: Harrisburg Patriot News must make right choices in light of less daily publication

Written by Scott Detrow, StateImpact Pennsylvania Reporter | Aug 28, 2012 7:39 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The Harrisburg Patriot-News is reducing the number of days it will publish to three days a week, beginning in January. Publisher John Kirkpatrick frames the shift away from print newspapers as a “bold and dramatic” move toward a heavier digital presence.

Advance Publications, which owns the paper, has gone from seven to three days of printing each week at several other newspapers, most notably the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Ken Doctor covers media at Newsonomics.com. He says jettisoning four newspapers a week is a risky move. "So the real peril here is that unless they invest in the right things as they make changes and even cut a day, they become less relevant to their communities, and they slowly fade away," he says. "So, that's my biggest fear out of this day-cutting phenomenon."

The Patriot-News’ announcement doesn’t make any mention of layoffs, but in an email to the Poynter Institute, an Advance executive said there will likely be “fewer employees” once the change is complete. Several hundred Times-Picayune staffers were laid off when the New Orleans paper shifted to three days of publication a week.

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