PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Post-Gazette is going digital. Well, sort of.
No more print editions for at least two days of the week, starting this Saturday.
“Is digital the future for newspapers in America today?” KDKA money editor Jon Delano asked Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications that owns the PG.
“One hundred percent. It’s the future. In my opinion, there is no future for print,” says Block.
Block says the future is coming fast because few people under 40 read print papers. But that’s okay.
“Digital is better. We can deliver the conventional newspaper, pages and sections, broadsheet newspaper to an iPad. We can do it very well with the software we’ve developed,” noted Block.
“When you look at the cost of print and actually printing a newspaper and putting it in a truck and driving it to your house, the costs are just so high and so prohibitive that everyone will be moving to digital eventually,” says Andrew Conte, director of Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation.
But not everyone likes that idea.
“We’re still a little older. My husband and I like holding a paper. I’ll miss it,” says Sheila Fine of the North Hills.
“Being a person of my generation, I prefer the print versus the online, but I’ll read either one,” adds P.M. Jackson of Mt. Lebanon.
The PG has billboards up around town and television ads on-air, featuring those who say they will never go digital.
One TV advertisement: “PGe and PG NewsSlide, who the bleep needs them. Last time I went on line they tried to track my cookies. They’ll never get my cookie recipe.”
Another TV advertisement: “Now they’re telling me PG is going digital. They can stick their digital. I’m not doing that.”
“It’s a little insensitive to the readers who really are connected to print, who really depend on print,” said Conte.
Not true, says Block.
These ads are just the first part of a multi-week ad campaign that will be better understood later. Post-Gazette subscribers recently got this letter in the mail, advising them of no more print editions on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
Of course, with the rising cost of newsprint, the Post-Gazette will save money by going digital. But will those savings costs be passed along to readers? A cheaper subscription price for digital?
Not likely, says Block, but then PG NewsSlide is free for all.
Block also told KDKA that going digital does not mean reducing the number of reporters at the paper. He expects news content to be high quality. Block says the Post-Gazette is also looking for an editorial cartoonist to replace Rob Rogers, who claimed he was fired for his anti-Trump cartoons. Block hopes to have a replacement soon.