Detroit Free Press, News Cut Workers, Home Delivery

We reported word that this was coming, and today, the Detroit Free Press is making it official, according to Editor & Publisher:

Detroit Media Partnership CEO David Hunke told production and editorial union leaders Tuesday that there will be no newsroom layoffs when the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News drop home delivery except for the more lucrative Thursday, Friday and Sunday editions.

Hunke confirmed to union leaders what local and industry journalists had been reporting for days: Most home delivery will be stopped, the paper will print a one-section street edition on the days of no home delivery, and digital subscriptions will be encouraged.

The newspaper itself is reporting a “major announcement” will take place at 11 a.m. You can watch a live stream of the announcement here.

Others say the papers will cut 9 percent of their work force.

The Gannett Blog has much more on this “Day of Reckoning.”

More from E&P here, here and here.

Also: the Newsosaur reports that the alternative for Detroit was a shut down:

The decision to abandon seven-day home delivery in Detroit was not a bold strategic initiative but a last-ditch effort to save two failing newspapers, according to one former Gannett executive.

“The choice was to shut down or to try to salvage the newspaper,” said the former executive, who was familiar with the months-long deliberations earlier this year that resulted in the decision to scrap home delivery four days a week at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.

The radical plan, which is likely to cost some 190 people their jobs by March, was not as much a carefully conceived business decision as it was an act of desperation, said the executive, who declined to be identified because he did not want to compromise continuing business relationships.

“They cut all they could,” he continued, recounting high-level management discussions that took place over the summer. “We saw the papers as continuing to deteriorate – and that was before Lehman Brothers” collapsed and the global economy melted down.

My (admittedly uninformed) first thought: Why is the group still operating two newspapers? I’m all for saving jobs and fostering competing editorial voices, but in an environment like this, wouldn’t the better business case be to shutter one of the papers?

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2 Responses

  1. […] which The Think Tank used to read in college, is up from $0.75 to $1.00. The Detroit Free Press will only offer home delivery three days a week, and The Christian Science Monitor has cancelled its print edition […]

  2. I read Kevin Price at http://www.BizPlusBlog.com (host of the Price of Business on CNN radio) was discussing the decline of newspapers and noted that they people have already moved to the Web for information. It isn’t a Detroit problem, like I have read else where, it is a newspaper issue.

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