Thursday, August 16, 2018
Business

Pittsburgh's Tribune-Review to become online-only newspaper

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper plans to stop its print edition Nov. 30 and offer an online-only publication in a reorganization that will also require 106 layoffs, its publisher announced Wednesday.

The moves mean Pittsburgh residents will again have only one daily print newspaper, something the Tribune's former owner, the late billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, sought to avoid.

Trib Total Media will continue publishing two daily print editions for the suburbs, the Greensburg-based Westmoreland edition of the Tribune-Review and the Tarentum-based Valley News Dispatch edition.

The Pittsburgh Trib's daily circulation was just under 33,500 while the Sunday paper was just shy of 40,000, said Jennifer Bertetto, president and CEO of Trib Total Media.

The Pittsburgh newspaper had been a midsized suburban daily, the Greensburg Tribune-Review, when Scaife purchased it in 1969. Under his ownership, it became the voice for his fiscally conservative, but socially libertarian, politics.

The paper — and Scaife's media holdings — grew by leaps and bounds when The Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were idled by a 1992 strike that kept truck drivers from delivering the city's competing dailies. Scripps-Howard eventually folded the Press.

Scaife stepped into the city's newspaper vacuum by expanding the Tribune-Review's circulation from the city's far eastern suburbs into the city itself, then battled head-to-head with the Post-Gazette.

Scaife bought several smaller daily and weekly newspapers and created Trib Total Media in 2005.

In the decade since, however, Trib Total Media has contracted, with much of the downsizing occurring after Scaife died in July 2014.

His children have since sued Scaife's estate claiming money to which they were entitled had been spent on propping up Trib Total Media. That litigation is ongoing, though attorneys for Scaife's estate have argued that the spending was lawful.

Late last year, Trib Total Media laid off more than 150 employees and consolidated its three main daily newspapers. In recent months, the company announced a round of 100 employee buyouts — roughly one-sixth of its staff — and the abrupt departures of its top two editors.

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