Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Detroit Leads Change In America's Daily Paper Medium

Detroit's two major daily newspapers became the first major newspapers in America to curb daily delivery to three days a week.

The paper will be delivered for home-based subscription on Thursday, Friday and Sundays only starting sometime early in the new year as the combined management of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press aim to curb overall payroll by 9% before the end of the first quarter of '09.

The papers, managed under the umbrella of a joint operating agreement (JOA) since 1989 that pared each paper's holiday and weekend responsibilities in half, opened an 11 a.m. news conference with a paper-produced video that highlighted the paper's first 200 years as an innovative pioneer in the media industry. Self-plaudits included the first women's section, first paper-owned radio station, first Sunday paper and first paper-owned plane.

However, the overriding message was the admission that the digital age has made traditional paper production a dinosaur. With costs spiraling upward for manpower, availability of paper, and energy costs for materials, production and delivery, the newspapers are highly-motivated to pioneer the answers to what plagues the newspaper industry nationwide.

The JOA management also announced the online editions, free for the past several years, will be available for $12 a month. The $144-per-year subscription cost is aimed at saving both papers in terms of content, platform and brand.

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