Newspapers in Detroit restrict home delivery

December 17th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 17 (DPA) For the first time in a large US city, newspaper readers in Detroit will no longer be able to step outside their door to grab a delivered paper every day.The publisher of the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News said Tuesday it would eliminate home delivery on most days.

The move comes as newspapers across the country have been hit by declining readership and advertising revenues resulting in layoffs at major dailies as more people get their news on the internet.

Subscribers will only receive home delivery Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and a scaled-down version of the paper will be available on newsstands on other days of the week, said the Detroit Media Partnership, which operates both papers under a joint operating agreement.

The publisher said it plans to reduce its 2,100-strong workforce by nine percent, but those cuts will not come from the newsroom.

The publisher said in a statement that it would instead devote more focus to online news at its websites and a new digital replica of each day’s papers.

“Our decision to limit home delivery to three days a week reflects the reality that major newspaper markets are facing daunting economic challenges. Advertising in this economy is down and costs are up. We can’t live in the past. We need to shift resources to the digital side of our business, which readers and advertisers clearly are telling us is our future,” said Dave Hunke, chief executive of Detroit Media Partnership and publisher of the Free Press.

The announcement is the latest in the hard-hit US newspaper industry. Last week, the Tribune Company, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times filed for bankruptcy.

The company did not say how the change would affect its advertising rates, which are typically higher for print publications than online.

Since 2005 alone, ad revenues nationwide have plummeted more than 21 percent, from $35.1 billion in the first three quarters of 2005 to $27.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2008.

In October, audit figures showed that daily newspaper circulation was continuing its steep decline: slipping 4.6 percent from last year.

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