Detroit Newspapers Shifting Focus to Online
In even more gloomy news from the newspaper sector, executives from Detroit's two largest newspapers said the rapidly changing economics of the industry were forcing them to cut home delivery to just three days a week.
The Detroit Media Partnership, which operates the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, said it will instead focus on online editions that allow readers to see the paper exactly as it would appear in print --- except on a computer screen. Dead Tree versions of the paper will be available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
“We’re here because we’re fighting for our survival,” said David Hunke, Free Press publisher and chief executive of the partnership, in comments reported by the Associated Press. “We’re also here because we have an absolute resolve to not only save but rethink and rebuild two of the greatest newspapers in this country.”
The shift begins in March.
The Free Press is the nation's 20th largest paper by circulation, making it the largest paper yet to shift its business model away from print. Other newspaper companies have announced sweeping layoffs and radical redesigns of their papers. The Tribune Company recently filed for bankruptcy reorganization.
On its web site, the Free Press offered an extensive question-and-answer discussion about the changes. In answering a question about why the change is being made, the newspaper summed up not only its own problems but the issues facing much of the industry:
"A: Economics. Advertising, including classified, is down. Costs are up. We are changing our model in order to survive in a world that has changed. We are listening to readers and advertisers, and responding to their changing habits and needs. The future of news and information delivery is electronic, and we are focusing our considerable resources – and Michigan’s largest news-gathering staffs – on serving those changing needs, while also maintaining seven-day newspapers."
-- Michael S. Rosenwald
Michael S. Rosenwald
December 16, 2008; 3:53 PM ET
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