Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Called it

The News and Free Press are cutting home delivery to just Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. The paper will still be published seven days a week, but it will only be available at stores and in coin boxes. But I wouldn't call it much of a paper. The Free Press promises "a more compact product ... with an easy-to-pull-out sports section, provocative commentary and enriched lifestyle coverage." On weekends, the paper will be "more substantial" -- thus admitting that the daily paper will not be substantial -- but will also include more "features with quick summaries of information and events." In other words, the Free Press will, in so much as possible, no longer publish news.

The Free Press brags without shame that this strategy "contrasts with significant across-the-board cuts ... at many newspapers" despite years of cutbacks that have gutted both of our dailies. And the cuts will likely continue as the papers hemorrhage readers and make the rocky (but necessary) transition to the internet. The future looks very ugly, not just here but everywhere (see the New Yorker for the scope of the problem). The truth is, for the foreseeable future, Detroit will have no reliable, in-depth news source -- and it needs it, bad.

5 comments:

3D said...
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Dominic said...

I guess one bright spot to look at is we still have two newspapers when most cities have cut down to just one. Still as you say, the future looks ugly.

I haven't had a paper delivered in years as I've taken the online route, but on occasion there's nothing like picking up a newspaper and reading it with something to drink or eat.

Jane said...

The problem with reading things online is that you (or at least I) never read everything. Especially on the New York Times website, I always skip to things that are of interest of me. When I have an actual, physical paper in my hands, I usually read everything and end up encountering interesting articles that I'd never have read otherwise.

But honestly, the News can go away completely for all I care. I only read the Free Press.

Cooper said...

You're right about that, Jane. On the rare occasions when I read the New York Times in print, it's an entirely different experience. I wonder if better web design can't fix that, or whether further specialization online will lead us to read only the news that we specifically seek out.

I still read both local papers online. The News isn't much to speak of, but it gives more weight to local coverage of Detroit. The Free Press is more generically suburban. I don't care much for either editorial page.

maicher said...
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