Michigan’s Ann Arbor News Will Soon Only Be On The Web

Ann Arbor News survived for 174 years before the recession. It will be shutting down in July. After the last print edition hits the stands folks will have to log on to their computers for the latest news.
In July the printing presses will stop running at the Ann Arbor News. In their place will be a community news operation that takes place on the Web. AnnArbor.com is planning to have a print edition twice a week but not the same format that is currently offered to their patrons.

The Ann Arbor News employees about 200 people. Most of those will be in the unemployment lines.

The Huffington Post reports:

“The Ann Arbor News was struggling as a daily print newspaper, with steep losses in 2008,” said Champion, who will be executive vice president of AnnArbor.com LLC. “At the same time the demand for local news and information in a wired community has never been stronger.”

The announcement was made on Monday by the Newhouse family’s Advance Publications.

In addition The Flint Journal, The Bay City Times and The Saginaw News will be cutting their daily print editions down to three days a week.

Advance will freeze pension plans at almost all of its 26 newspapers across the nation. Instead of a pension plan employees will have an increased amount added to their 401(k) retirement plans.

Employees will also be taking more time off each year without pay. It will be mandatory that staff take 10 unpaid days a year off.

The Huffington Post reports:

“When we looked at Ann Arbor, we saw a very special place. It’s unusually tech-savvy and a community that’s passionate about everything that’s going on,” Newhouse told The Associated Press. “At the same time, the daily print format was facing growing losses. We were at a crossroads.”

The paper is now turning to the community to help their web site grow. A community forum will take place on April 2 at the Campus Inn to get community input on the new web site with a second forum taking place on April 3 at 10 a.m. at Weber’s Inn.

At Michigan’s largest chain paper, The Grand Rapids Press times are hard also. With 310,000 daily readers the paper is having to cut costs to continue to provide the news. Salaries are being slashed and health care insurance is costing the staff more.

Detroit News

“Even with a reduced number of pages, which reflects the economy’s impact on advertising, we believe putting a print edition on newsstands and into homes is still of significant value,” Booth Michigan CEO Dan Gaydou said in a press release Monday.

The paper is also having to reduce other key operational costs by centralizing the accounting, technical services, advertising productions, editing and some customer call center departments.

Last week Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc.announced that salaries would be shrinking for its staff that has survived the pink slip by 10 percent. Four of their publications, Automotive News Europe, Business Insurance Europe, Wireless News and FinancialWeek.com have already been put to sleep.


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