New Orleans newspaper cuts editions; no changes in Natchez

Published 12:03 am Saturday, May 26, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Times-Picayune, one of the nation’s oldest newspapers, will no longer offer print editions seven days a week and instead plans to offer three printed issues a week starting in the fall.

The change means New Orleans would become the largest metro area in the nation without a daily newspaper.

The changes announced Thursday were combined with similar moves at three major Alabama daily newspapers also owned by the Newhouse family group’s Advance Publications.

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The Birmingham News, the Press-Register in Mobile and The Huntsville Times will switch to publishing three days a week as part of a new focus on online news.

All four papers will continue to publish continuously on their websites, and online access will remain free.

Advance is the only newspaper company in the country to announce such drastic changes to its print publication.

The move came as a shock to newspapers across the region.

Natchez Democrat Publisher Kevin Cooper said local readers need not worry about losing their daily newspaper.

“It’s unfortunate the people of New Orleans appear to be losing their long-trusted daily newspaper,” Cooper said. “Perhaps the economics of large newspapers apparently are much different than smaller, community newspapers such as The Natchez Democrat.

“We remain financially strong and confident in our business.”

The Natchez Democrat has no plans to change what it does for its community of readers, he said.

“We’re not going anywhere, and we’re not planning on abandoning the responsibility entrusted in us by the thousands and thousands of readers who depend on our printed edition to be there for them every day.”