Oregonian to reduce home delivery to four days per week

The Oregonian will curb home delivery to four days a week and lay off some staff as it reorganizes operations to emphasize online news, the newspaper announced on Thursday.

The Portland newspaper will continue to publish seven days a week. The Oregonian, first published as the Weekly Oregonian in 1850, will be sold only on newsstands on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will be delivered to subscribers and available for single copy purchase on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Print subscribers will also get an electronic edition of each day’s paper, and many retirement homes will continue to get daily print editions.

“Our print products will be driven by our digital focus,” The Oregonian’s publisher and president N. Christian Anderson III said in a staffwide meeting Thursday morning. “More than ever, we’re going to be a digital-first company.”

Anderson declined to say how many of The Oregonian’s 650 employees would lose their jobs in coming months. Editor and Vice President Peter Bhatia told newsroom employees that the reductions would be “significant.” But he said there would be new hiring as well.

The move comes as newspapers nationwide struggle to adapt to changes in readership and advertising. Several other newspapers owned by Advance Publications Inc., the paper’s New Jersey-based owner, have either reduced home delivery or have announced plans to.

Advance Publications will also re-organize its business operations pertaining to the newspaper, closing Oregonian Publishing Co. on Oct. 1, operating The Oregonian and affiliate OregonLive.com through a subsidiary called Oregonian Media Group.

It will also form a second company, Advance Central Services Oregon, to produce, package, distribute and provide other support services for the new company and other publications.

The new companies will eventually relocate from The Oregonian’s current home on Southwest Broadway, which was finished in 1948. It’s not yet known when or where the move will occur.

They also will continue to publish the Hillsboro Argus as well as weeklies that Anderson launched within the last year — the Beaverton Leader and Forest Grove Leader.

Managers began informing employees on Thursday whether they’d get job offers with the new companies or be laid off by Oct. 1 and offered severance packages.

Though newsroom titles and structure will change, Bhatia told the staff he “took great pains to make sure the structure represented what I’m fond of calling ‘Oregonian journalism.’ ” The paper has won seven Pulitzer Prizes, five since 1999.

The Oregonian currently delivers to 170,000 homes daily and sells 15,000 papers a day at newsstands, said Kevin Denny, the paper’s vice president of operations and circulation. The Oregonian prints 263,000 Sunday editions with 30,000 of those sold at newsstands.