Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dramatic changes unveiled at The News, Free Press

The Detroit Media Partnership that oversees The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press today announced an innovative plan designed to preserve both papers by curtailing home delivery and increasing online offerings.

The plan, which is unique in the newspaper industry among major markets, calls for smaller, redesigned editions most days, but ensures The News will continue to be printed six days a week and the Free Press seven days.

Jonathan Wolman, editor and publisher of The News, announced what he called a plan to "fortify the Detroit newspapers at a difficult time" during a 9:30 a.m. staff meeting. A similar meeting was held at the Free Press. The announcement, to be formalized at an 11 a.m. press conference, follows a week of rumors about the papers' response to the industry downturn.

"We think the strategy can break the cycle of buyouts and downsizing and send us on a path of innovation and growth. And I mean it," Wolman said. "With this initiative, we're laying plans to modernize the daily paper while expanding the immediacy and impact of our digital services."

The changes, expected to be implemented in March, mean home delivery of The News and Free Press will end Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Delivery will continue on Thursdays and Fridays at both papers and Sundays at the Free Press. Both will still be available at the regular price at 20,000 stores and boxes throughout Michigan and through an electronic "e-edition" that allows readers to view replicas of the printed papers online.

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