Washington Post Takes Saturdays Off


In another sign of the changing media landscape, the Washington Post announced recently that it is discontinuing its Saturday newsstand edition. As reported in Washingtonian, readers interested in picking up a Saturday paper at their local corner store will instead be able to buy an “early Sunday” edition. The Post has emphasized that the “early Sunday” edition will include all of the news of the Saturday paper. And the Saturday paper will still be available for those getting home delivery.

However, it is clear that the move is part of a larger trend of the public losing interest in traditional print media, as evidenced by newspaper circulation and print advertising revenue falling in recent years. With more and more readers getting their news from alternative sources – including Facebook, Twitter, and innumerable blogs and online-only outlets – as well as choosing to read their news from their phones, tablets, and computers, there is understandably less need for the print version of a Saturday paper. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults now use Facebook, and half of those users get their news there, amounting to 30 percent of the general population. And the American Press Institute has found that Americans on average reported that during the last week they followed the news using at least four different devices and technologies.

Other newspapers have made similar and in many cases far more dramatic moves. In 2009, the Christian Science Monitor ended its daily print edition entirely, moving to online only publication. In the same year, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News cut back home delivery to three days a week – Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, when advertising revenue is highest. In 2012, the New Orleans Times-Picayune similarly shifted to publishing in print only three days a week.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, the Post’s Saturday newsstand edition had a circulation of only about 4,000 – a fraction of the paper’s over 400,000 daily circulation and over 800,000 Sunday circulation. So this move hardly marks a major shift in the Post’s overall operations. But it is another sign of the times.

Here is the Post’s editor’s note from last week announcing the change:

This is the first week of a reformatted Early Sunday Edition of The Post. It includes all the news from the Saturday paper, along with Sunday’s Comics, Outlook, Travel, Business and Arts & Style sections. It also includes The Washington Post Magazine, TV Week and the Post Marketplace package coupons and inserts. This edition is only available at retail outlets; home delivery subscribers will continue to receive their Saturday and Sunday newspapers as expected. Our Sunday edition with up-to-date news and Sports as well as opinion pages will be available tomorrow at retail outlets. The Saturday newspaper is still available through a home delivery subscription.