RI’s Media Decline — Projo Staff Cuts, Providence American Stops Printing and Pivots to Digital
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
This is the third major staff reduction at the newspaper over the past year. In the most recent fall report, the daily print circulation had shrunk to less than 44,000.
Another Rhode Island newspaper — the Providence American -- has stopped printing and is looking to pivot to digital.
“Obviously, the medium has changed — people want to reach out, advertisers want to reach out to a larger segment of the community. I think that can be done more efficiently these days both with TV, and the internet and digital broadcasting,” said Peter Wells, publisher of the community newspaper which has a focus on issues impacting people of color, in an appearance on GoLocal LIVE.
“We’re going to be doing that as well, we’re going to be transitioning to a digital base. It may not say the Providence American..but it will still have the same impact of publishing stories that impact the communities of color in Rhode Island,” said Wells.
WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW ABOVE
In the 1980s, Frank Graham founded The Providence American — Rhode Island’s “Black newspaper” -- with a focus on covering the African-American community.
In 2006, Wells, a former Housing and Urban Development official purchased the newspaper from Graham. Wells explained how he expanded the coverage of the paper for all people in the minority community.
“In 2006, when I acquired the rights to publish the Providence American, it was to keep it going. Frank Graham had some medical issues and could no longer publish the paper and since I was retiring from the federal government...[I'd say] it was purely by accident,” said Wells
The new digital version is expected to launch in the next few weeks and it will be named Provamnews.com, according to Wells.
Across the country print, television and digital news organizations are seeing more and more staff reductions.
This month, digital news company BuzzFeed's slashing 15 percent of its staffing coupled with HuffPost’s 7 percent reduction were major hits to the digital news business. “‘This is going to be a tough week,’ Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed News, wrote in an email to his staff on Wednesday. On Friday, the newsroom learned just how tough, when the company laid off 43 of the roughly 250 journalists who worked in that division, according to a BuzzFeed spokesman,” reported the New York Times.
Newspapers across the country saw more dramatic cuts as Gannett, owner of USA Today and hundreds of other newspapers across the country, made newsroom cuts across its papers across the board.
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