Observer-Dispatch no longer printing Saturday edition in March

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UTICA — Come March, the Observer-Dispatch will no longer have a print publication on Saturdays, according to an  online article.

While there will no longer be a print edition on Saturdays, the Observer-Dispatch will instead have an online edition with all the usual content that readers are accustomed to.

Starting Feb. 1, the Daily Sentinel will become available for home delivery for anyone in Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties.

In an article by the Observer-Dispatch explaining the change, Executive Editor Sheila Rayam said the decision to move the Saturday print edition to digital was in response to more O-D subscribers accessing content through smartphones and other digital devices. The change goes into effect on March 12.

Daily Sentinel Publisher Bradley Waters said it was hard to drop the Sentinel's Monday edition a few years ago, but a necessary one. There are no current plans to drop any more, and if anything, Waters is considering bringing back the full seven-day delivery if expansion into the Utica market goes well.

"I'm not surprised to hear the Utica Observer-Dispatch is dropping their Saturday edition, and I wouldn't be surprised if they drop two or three more days," Waters said. "It seems to be the model across the country."

When asked what the future held, Waters said readers would decide where the Sentinel goes in terms of print versus digital.

"My goal is to deliver both products packed full of reliable community news, and the market will guide us to where we need to be," he said. "It doesn't matter to me whether the news is consumed online or print, and we're finding that our subscribers like both."

Waters explained that many subscribers open their online edition of the paper first thing in the morning after it goes live at 5 a.m. while others wait to get home to unplug and read the paper from cover to cover.

But with the market now open in Utica, Waters said he predicts growth in Saturday readers.

"Our Saturday edition is our most popular when it comes to single-copy sales," he said. "I'm sure this will only make that number increase."

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