March 23, 2009

Michigan newspapers announce changes; new online effort in Ann Arbor

The chain of newspapers informally known as Booth Newspapers announced changes today that include the closing of the Ann Arbor News, the opening of a hybrid online-print product that invites community participation, three editions instead of seven for three newspapers, and salary and benefit cuts for the newspaper employees.

Employees at other newspapers in the Newhouse/Advance Publication alliance also are reporting salary and benefit cuts.
(video below) will offer news coverage to the Ann Arbor market. It will be a site independent of the joint site now serving the eight Booth Newspapers. A print product, created out of Jackson, will be available on Thursdays and Sundays. Plus, the operation will seek community input in designing the product and contributing to the coverage.

The Bay City Times, Flint Journal, and Saginaw News will print three times a week instead of seven times. Printing operations will be combined. Plus, some sections will be the same, including the new Diversions (TV listings, puzzles and advice), Social (friends and family news), Let's Go (what to do where) and Posh. There's also a hint about a Great Lakes Bay news section on the Bay City and Saginaw announcements.

(Update via Twitters from employees: Flint, Saginaw, Bay City newspapers 35% layoffs; pension freeze May 14 but more to 401k; 25% pay cuts; job pledge void)

Salary and benefit cuts were announced for employees at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizens Patriot and Muskegon Chronicle.

Editorial production for Kalamazoo and Muskegon newspapers moves to Grand Rapids this summer. The Kalamazoo publisher also says its printing operation may also move to Grand Rapids.

Here are links to Michigan announcements:
Ann Arbor News Press Release March 23
Ann Arbor News to close in July. will launch with daily reporting on the web and a bi-weekly print edition (Thursdays and Sundays). (Note: The site is live, public meetings set up so community can contribute)
Letter from Ann Arbor News Publisher March 23
This is a difficult day for all of us at The Ann Arbor News. I've announced to my colleagues here that we will publish our last edition in July.
Coverage on mlive March 23
The Ann Arbor News will close in July and will be replaced by a Web-based, media company called

The Flint Journal announces big changes
Beginning June 1, The Journal, The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times will publish intensely local print editions only on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, which research shows are the highest readership days for newspapers.
A letter from the Journal publisher
Frequently asked questions and answers for Journal readers

Saginaw News announces changes

Grand Rapids Press institutes salary, benefit cuts

GRAND RAPIDS - The Grand Rapids Press will reduce wages and add cost-sharing provisions to the health benefit package for all employees beginning in June, Publisher Dan Gaydou announced Monday.The announcement comes as a response to the slow economy and its impact on advertisers.

Kalamazoo editorial production to move

Editorial production center to open in Grand Rapids this summer, looking at joint printing operation

Jackson paper to to print new Ann Arbor product

The Jackson operations will print the twice weekly edition of product (Coming out on Thursdays and Sundays. The publisher also said that wages and benefit reductions are planned.

A note to Chronicle readers from Publisher and Editor Paul M. Keep

Bay City Forward - Information on the future of The Bay City Times

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