The Birmingham News, the largest circulation newspaper in Alabama, and its sister papers in Mobile and Huntsville will be cutting back to three print editions per week this fall.
The announcement was made by Advance Publications officials on Thursday, just after the company made a similar announcement about its New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune. The latter announcement was prompted by leaked reports by other news media, which led to further online speculation about the Alabama group.
The Alabama announcement was made a couple of hours after New Orleans.
The papers, still called Newhouse papers by news media veterans who remember the company by its original name and the family which owns it, will now publish on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Those editions are traditionally the largest by page count each week: Sundays for comics, sports and retail advertising inserts; Wednesdays for grocery ads; and Fridays for weekend sports and leisure coverage. Editions on the other four days of the week have traditionally been thin, especially for Birmingham in recent years.
The changeover will take place sometime in the fall, but the exact date has not been determined.
The Alabama papers will continue to report through their website on non-publishing days.
Cutbacks in staff are expected because of the change, though their extent has not been announced.
Editor Tom Scaritt will also retire when the cutback takes place, according to reporters who attended the meeting where the cutbacks were announced.