Monday, September 01, 2014

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More changes at the Post Standard

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: More changes at the Post Standard
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The digital age is bringing changes for Syracuse's only daily newspaper, which is shifting its emphasis from print to online. YNN's Bill Carey says the Post Standard is about to move its editorial staff into new offices with a new mission.


SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- There was a time when newspapers were virtually the only way to get the news. Competition forced many to fold and eventually Syracuse was left with one daily. The Post Standard.

Its presses have been churning out a daily newspaper for close to 200 years. But, the Internet age is bringing change.

“We all have PCs, laptops, smartphones. That's where our advertisers, that's where our readers were going. We have to follow. We have to follow,” said Stephen A. Rogers, Syracuse Media Group Chairman.

So the Post Standard is now just a part of Syracuse Media Group, which will focus much of its attention on delivery of news online. Home delivery of newspapers reduced to just three days a week.

“It's a big investment and it's an investment in the future of journalism and in the future of this business,” said Tim Kennedy, Syracuse Media Group President.

Now comes the physical break from the past. Reporters and advertising staff will be leaving the Post Standard headquarters on Clinton Square, set to be housed in new offices that are part of a renovation project on South Warren Street.

“There are no desks. There are no cubicles. There are reporters and salespeople. They have their smartphone. They have their laptop. They have their backpack. I think part of this is psychological to say ‘this is a new world,’” said Rogers.

The printing presses and support staff will remain in the old building, but the main headquarters for the news operation will now be firmly rooted not in print, but online.

The future of this digital world is an unknown. And companies taking their first tentative steps into that digital world are taking a risk.

“Many folks would say, you're trading print dollars for digital dimes, and that may be so. But, we need to gather as many digital dimes as we can. If that's what the digital business model looks like, then that's what we need to do,” said Kennedy.

The man at the helm of the new operation has spent his life in a print world , a world he admits he's always loved.

“But I could see the handwriting, as a lot of us could see, what was happening to a newspaper company that was wedded to print. And, if we remained wedded to print, we might not be around for very long,” said Rogers.

The move into the new headquarters is due in the spring.

Syracuse Media Group says it plans to shift the Post Standard to its three-day a week home delivery schedule in February. It will continue to print smaller editions for single-copy sales on the other four days of the week. The future of those smaller off-day printings will depend on sales.

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