July 23, 2009

Updated: A community says goodbye to its newspaper; Ann Arbor News, staff says it right back

More photographs of the last days
online at Mlive.
There are photos and comments on Facebook, sadness on Twitter, and even more in the newspaper that will publish its final edition on Thursday.
In some ways, there's a let's hurry up and get it over with as desks are emptied, belongings carted home and every day brings a new round of lasts at the Ann Arbor News.

A Facebook event asks:
"Leave flowers, notes, cards or mementos on the steps of the Ann Arbor News this week on Thursday, July 23rd, the last day it will be printed after 174 years. Show the employees that we appreciate their work and that we'll miss them and our paper."

Send them jobs instead. A Twitter plea says wear black on Thursday. Journalists take to blogs, posting last photos of the last employees left and other farewells.

Radio host Lucy Ann Lance pens her own "Requiem for the Ann Arbor News" and plays out week of farewells on air:

"Listen for interviews with retired crime reporter Bill Treml, former newsman Jeff Mortimer, former sportswriter Jim Carty, editor Ed Petykiewicz, reporters Tom Gantert, Dan Meisler, and Sven Gustafson, and a panel discussion with reporters Jo Mathis, Geoff Larcom, and Tracy Davis, just to name a few.

"In addition, University of Michigan Professor Anthony Collings (a former CNN international affairs correspondent and author of Words of Fire: Independent Journalists Who Challenge Dictators, Drug Lords, and Other Enemies of a Free Press) will comment on the changing world of journalism."

Over on the newspaper's web site is more evidence of farewells: Letters, photos and videos.

NBC also put together a report last week (Find it on MSNBC)

Even the AnnArbor.com, the online-two-day-a-week on paper noted the final day.

There's acknowledgment that consuming media becomes more difficult in a almost paperless town with multiple outlets of online news.

Lance asks:

"Do you have time to log onto AnnArbor.com, AnnArborChronicle.com, A2Journal.com, MLive.com, DetNews.com, Freep.com, etc. to keep up with your community? Each of those publications offers a unique look into our world.

"Also, are you going to have the time and interest to navigate through 75 different community journalists (bloggers) who will be providing content to AnnArbor.com?"

Further north, those in towns now served by three times a week or weekly newspapers look on in envy. Will we ever get used to obituaries on the television? Will we one day wonder how we did without obituaries over the phone? Recognize the datelines now served up as local that once were identified as "state news."

So many times I've heard the moans of news organizations losing the historical knowledge when buyouts, layoffs and retirements thin the employed ranks. Imagine what's lost when the newspaper closes its doors.

Listen to some of the memories:

Bill Treml, Famed former Ann Arbor News Crime Beat Reporter – Mon., 7/20/09 Recalling the glorious days of the newsroom and insight on his most famous case, John Norman Collins and the Coed Murders.

Jeff Mortimer, former Ann Arbor News Reporter – Tue., 7/21/09Before Level Larcom there was Dump the Dope. Jeff Mortimer pinpoints the day he knew the Ann Arbor News was doomed.

Ed Petykiewicz, Retiring Editor of The Ann Arbor News -Wed., 7/22/09 When Ed Petykiewicz decided to retire from the Ann Arbor News, he had no idea he’d be ushering everyone out and locking the door behind him.

Ann Arbor News Media Panel: Jo Mathis, Geoff Larcom and Tracy E. Davis -Wed., 7/22/09 Between them they have spent nearly 50 years reporting about the Ann Arbor community, and when the Ann Arbor News closes all of that will be gone.

Find many of the Ann Arbor News stories leading up to its closings online. Read some of the shared memories. Folks are writing fan letters to the Ann Arbor News as it crawls to its end.

The news organization gathered own photos, videos and memories for a grand exit:

The Final Videos:

More online on mlive.com and elsewhere. Best taken in small doses.


  1. Speaking of dying and dead newspapers ... can someone tell me if Editor John Foren has left the Flint Journal? Supposedly, his last day was June 1, 2009 but it seems from appearances on local cable TV shows that he may still be employed there. I'd simply refer to the FJ's Contact Us web page, but it is hopelessly outdated. It still lists zillions of editors and reporters who long ago were forced into early retirement or jobs at the local Halo Burger.

    Odd for a paper moving largely to an online entity, huh? One starts to wonder if they purposefully leave the page as-is to give the appearance of being a far bigger enterprise.

    Anyway, I'd call the FJ for an answer to my question but I don't need to speak with Foren or anyone else still there; I was hoping for an answer here from someone in the know.

    Foren's published statements about his supposedly imminent departure have spun it into an ambiguous yet upbeat, voluntary situation. My point is that I believe he would stay indefinitely if given a reprieve. So ... it begs the question: is this indeed what occurred? It sure seems like he's still there and I know June 1 is history. And if not Foren, whom is the new editor??? Did I miss something?

    Obviously, this all cries out for an update on FL newsroom management ...