Monday, March 23, 2009

Michigan Newspapers Going Way of Model T

Reduced-Frequency Contagion Spreads from Detroit

March 30 is D-Day in Detroit for when the Freep and News cut back to delivering to three days a week and printing a slimmed-down edition the other four days for the coinboxes and newsstands.
Better than nothing, I guess.
At least readers will at least have the opportunity to read a paper -- and not just online -- seven days a week.
That's a luxury that won't be afforded to three Michigan papers put out by Newhouse's Advance Publications in Flint, Saginaw and Bay City. They'll cut down to three days a week -- Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Period.
Of course, there will be "enhanced web offerings" and what not. "Information is consumed differently in the 21st century, and our new direction is focused on that pattern," Flint Journal publisher David Sharp wrote in a letter to readers. "We will no longer be just a print medium. We are evolving into a company that will offer information and advertising through video, digital, direct marketing and print channels."
Translation: The economy's so lousy in eastern Michigan, not enough of you are left to buy the paper, so it costs more to run the presses than we take in most days."
Not that the other five Advance papers in Michigan are immune.
Editor & Publisher reported the Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Jackson and Muskegon papers will consolidate their editorial and production work in Grand Rapids this summer, while the Ann Arbor News will shut down in July after 174 years in business and go online-only.
Meanwhile, employees at other Advance papers are facing the prospects of unpaid furloughs of up to 10 days and no more pension contributions.
The economic stimulus and buying-up of toxic assets may eventually help the Michigan economy. But you may not be able to read about it in the local paper.

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