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Cleveland daily to cut home edition to thrice-weekly

Newspapers are displayed at a newsstand October 26, 2009 in San Francisco, California
Newspapers are displayed at a newsstand October 26, 2009 in San Francisco, California. The Cleveland Plain Dealer said Thursday it would cut back its home-delivery print editions to three days a week, as it focuses on digital output amid tough times for n

The Cleveland Plain Dealer said Thursday it would cut back its home-delivery print editions to three days a week, as it focuses on digital output amid tough times for newspapers.

The newspaper, one of the largest to cut back on print, "will continue to publish in print and online seven days a week" but will be delivered to homes only three days a week, including Sunday, a statement said.

"The paper will continue to be available daily at thousands of locations across the region," the Plain Dealer said.

"An electronic edition of the newspaper also will be available daily. The e-edition looks just like the printed newspaper and can be read on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone."

The paper owned by Advance Publications -- which is making cutbacks at its other US newspapers -- did not say which days the home editions would be offered, and only indicated the move would take place "this summer."

"All of the announced changes are driven by our desire to adapt to market changes and to continue to serve the community as the leading source of news and information for years to come," the statement said.

A group of employees who organized a "Save the Plain Dealer" committee said on their Facebook page that the newspaper will also dismiss a third of the newsroom staff as part of the reorganization.

But the group said the move was not as drastic as anticipated because the newspaper would keep a limited print edition seven days a week.

"We're pleased that Advance apparently listened to the campaign and the voices of thousands of Greater Clevelanders who want and need the daily paper to continue," the group said.

"We're saddened, though, that home delivery will be reduced to three days a week. That will inconvenience many loyal readers, and will prevent some, particularly the elderly, from having access to the paper."

The strategy may work if coupled with "real investment in the digital side," said Northeastern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy.

Without that, he said, "they are really leaving the communities they serve with reduced print presence and a mediocre online presence."

The Plain Dealer was among the top 20 US dailies last year with a print circulation of 219,000 and 73,000 digital readers, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

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