The Pitt News cuts Friday print, launches digital day


The Pitt News has cut print back from five days a week for the first time since 1997. (Photo by Anna Bongardino | Visual Editor)

By Hannah Schneider, Assistant News Editor

After more than 20 years of printing five days a week, The Pitt News is cutting Friday print production.

The decision, made by The Pitt News Advisory Board, was finalized in March. The group decision was made to free up editorial time to create more digital content and foster a sustainable digital business model.

The Pitt News joins multiple other newspapers around the country cutting days of print production, including Penn State’s The Daily Collegian and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A majority have been cutting print as audiences shift from print to digital. Other outlets have cut news staff to conserve funds. Some outlets claim newspapers will die out altogether.

But current employees at our 108-year-old student newspaper don’t see cutting a day of print production as a sign of a dying paper. According to managing editor Janine Faust, cutting a day of print production presents new opportunities for The Pitt News to explore their online presence.

“Digital reporting is booming and has made it easier for news outlets to bring more creative, in-depth reporting to a wider range of readers in a shorter amount of time,” Faust said. “Outlets are experimenting with forms of online storytelling, including data visualization and documentary video.”

Citing slowdowns in print advertising sales and revenue, some newspapers have made massive cuts to editorial staff to make up for costs. But Christian Snyder, editor-in-chief of The Pitt News, said the shift to digital content creates a new set of job opportunities for editors.

“The entire media landscape is changing — everyone has seen the headlines about local papers shutting their doors or laying off staff members,” he said. “We’re trying to be proactive, even if we’re getting a late start — we hired four new editors to create specifically digital content, like videos, interactive graphics and new story templates.”

Brian Gentry was appointed to one of the new editor positions — online visual editor. He said the new online staff is looking forward to new ways to make online articles a more intriguing and attractive experience for readers.

“Our online staff is really excited to see how we can make our articles more interactive and more visually appealing,” Gentry said. “Our focus on developing the website gives us a great opportunity to match the online quality and presence of national news sources.”

Terry Lucas, general manager and adviser of The Pitt News, said publishing exclusively online on Fridays will help the newspaper reduce printing expenses — but overall, the shortened print week provides an enhanced online experience for readers.

“This created an opportunity for The Pitt News to publish Friday’s edition exclusively online and to develop the newspaper’s digital presence with a beefed-up Friday online-only edition for readers both on and off campus,” Lucas said. “Publishing Friday online-only will provide our readers and advertisers with a four-day shelf life for the Thursday weekend edition and at the same time help The Pitt News to reduce printing expenses for a healthier bottom line.”

Overall, publishing more online-only content is meant to enhance reading experiences for audiences by bringing the best of news, culture, sports and opinions around campus to our readers in innovative ways.

“We introduced a new website to hopefully provide our readers with an easier reading experience,” Snyder said. “If there’s anything our readers want to know, I hope they’ll reach out — we want to hear what you think.”