MediaNews Group, owner of 11 dailies in the Bay Area, reportedly plans to cut home delivery to three days a week in Detroit and has told unions in Denver that they need to re-open their labor contracts immediately in order to cut $20 million.
The proposed cuts in Denver come a week after E.W. Scripps announced it would close the Rocky Mountain News as early as January if nobody buys it. The Rocky reported Saturday that during a closed-door meeting with union officials, MNG chief executive Dean Singleton made it clear that he believes Scripps will close the Rocky, leaving MNG’s Denver Post as the sole survivor of a joint operating agreement where the papers share business operations but have separate newsrooms. “Scripps is going home,” Singleton was quoted as saying.
In Detroit, MNG’s Detroit News and Gannett’s Free Press are leaning toward ending home delivery on all but the most lucrative days — Thursday, Friday and Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. A pared-down version of the newspapers would be available in racks and in stores on the other days of the week. The New York Times, which reported the story Saturday, said it was also possible that home delivery could be reduced to just two days — Sunday and either Thursday or Friday. Both the the Journal and Times emphasized that the changes were not final and that an announcement was planned on Tuesday.
The Times reported:
- Across the country, a handful of papers have dropped print entirely, becoming strictly online news outlets, including The Christian Science Monitor and The Kentucky Post.
A few relatively small papers have stopped printing on the weakest advertising and news days of the week, like The East Valley Tribune, in the Phoenix suburbs, which will soon go from seven days to four. Industry analysts say they think some major papers will make similar moves, but are divided on whether it makes sense.
Cutting back on printing and delivery saves money, but it also accelerates the migration of readers to the Internet, where papers have found vastly expanded audiences and paltry revenue.