Can a 3-day-a-week model work for papers like the Times-Picayune?

Since the New Orleans Times-Picayune announced it would cease daily publication and publish just three days a week starting in the fall, questions have surfaced about the fate of the paper and others that Advance Publications owns.

When the Times-Picayune makes this switch, New Orleans will be the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper. Advance Publications has used a similar model with The Ann Arbor News, which publishes just twice a week.

Can a two or three-day-a-week model be viable? And can papers expect readers to follow a paper more closely online after it cuts back its print edition?

In a live chat, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds and Reuters’ Jack Shafer talked about the viability of this business model and its benefits and disadvantages. As Edmonds pointed out, changes at the Ann Arbor Daily News and Detroit’s reduced delivery experiment were rescue scenarios for failing papers. The precipitating factor in New Orleans, he says, isn’t so clear.

You can replay the chat here:

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