Union: Detroit Papers Plan Job Cuts, Less Delivery

By: By ED WHITE, Associated Press Writer
By: By ED WHITE, Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit's newspapers plan to cut 9 percent of their work force and offer fewer days of home delivery at a time of slumping revenue industrywide, a union official said Tuesday.

It's unclear where the cuts will fall at the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, Teamsters' Local 372 secretary-treasurer Ron Renaud said. He spoke after a meeting Tuesday morning with Detroit Media Partnership executives.

"They took a long hard look," said Renaud, whose union represents drivers, district managers and mailers with the Detroit Media Partnership. "They feel they need to do something to maintain two newspapers."

A message seeking comment was left with a Detroit Media Partnership spokeswoman.

Renaud said the Free Press will be delivered Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays starting in March, while The News will be delivered Thursdays and Fridays. The News doesn't publish a Sunday paper.

Renaud said the papers still will be printed and sold at newsstands every day. Readers also will be able to get the papers in a digital edition.

The Detroit Media Partnership, which runs the business operations of the papers, has said it would make an announcement Tuesday about "sweeping" changes "designed to better meet advertiser and reader needs in an era in which digital delivery is revolutionizing how people get information."

Detroit would be the largest metro area to undergo a major media makeover.

The changes include "a focus on more robust and more engaging digital delivery methods, and support the continued publication of two daily newspapers in Detroit," the partnership said in a statement Monday evening.

The Free Press is owned by Gannett Co. and the News by MediaNews Group. William Dean Singleton is chief executive officer of MediaNews and chairman of the board at The Associated Press.

Lou Mleczko, president of Local 22 of the Detroit Newspaper Guild, which represents 350 newsroom employees at the papers, said newspaper executives told union leaders "their current business model is unsustainable."

"They say they're losing money," Mleczko said. "They didn't say how much."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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