Websites for Advance newspapers in New Orleans, New Jersey, Michigan, Cleveland and across the U.S. were inaccessible for about an hour and a half Friday. Visitors to those websites received an error message (see below). Advance President of Local Digital Strategy Randy Siegel explained by email around 6:20 p.m. ET:

Our sites are back up. They were affected for 90 minutes due to a storage-related issue. (During a routine maintenance activity that should not have affected our live sites, we had a failure between our storage array and virtualized servers.)

Advance has announced plans to reduce print days at The Times-Picayune, The (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News, The (Syracuse, N.Y.) Post-Standard, and three Alabama papers. Though the motivation for the change, which includes significant layoffs, is financial, it is also intended to refocus digital resources in response to a shifting demand. Advance has been criticized for its websites, and this outage is already providing more fodder for critics.

Click below for a large image of the message users received when the sites went down