Sunday, December 14, 2008

Detroit newspapers on verge of being first going less than daily (sort of)

The auto industry is not the only one in Detroit that is hurting badly. The Wall Street Journal reported today that The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News will cease home delivery four days a week. The two newspapers are independently owned (by Gannett and MediaNews Group, respectively) but operate under a joint operating agreement that handles business operations for both paper, including delivery.

It’s no surprise that newspapers have been hurting, but the Detroit papers seem to be failing faster than those in other cities. Circulation of the papers is down between 15% (Free Press) and 22% (News), a long term slide that has no doubt been exacerbated by the troubles particular to Detroit’s major business.

The official announcement, expected next week, specifically refers to home delivery, suggesting that the papers will continue to print hard copies daily, with distribution limited to newsstands the four non-delivery days. The digital versions will continue as well.

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