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Analysts Ask: Detroit Plan a 'Big Step' -- but Not Enough?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Analysts Ask: Detroit Plan a 'Big Step' -- but Not Enough?

Article excerpt

Detroit Media Partnership's plan to keep two dailies publishing in the foundering home of the American automobile industry comes advertised as bold, radical, even revolutionary. But even with Tuesday's formal announcement just a few hours, some analysts declared themselves underwhelmed. Gannett Co.'s Detroit Free Press and its junior partner, MediaNews Group's Detroit News will publish and home-deliver full-sized papers only on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays starting this spring. A one-section paper Detroit Media Partnership CEO David Hunke described Tuesday as

"compact" would be available on a single-copy-only basis the other four days of the week. "If what you're trying to do is get advertising supply and demand back in balance, keeping both newsrooms and standalone papers -- there's a chance that doesn't go far enough, even though it's a relatively drastic step," said Mike Simonton, an anlalyst with the credit rating firm Fitch Ratings. "It seems like a large step, but it may not actually be sufficient." After viewing the press conference by Detroit newspaper executives, streamed live on the Web, San Francisco-based media consultant Alan D. Mutter said he was struck by what wasn't presented -- protocols of the new single-copy versions, or screen shots of the digital newspapers. "It's not clear to me how much of a plan is this plan," he said. On his blog "Reflections of a Newsosaur" Monday, Mutter reported on a conversation he had with an unnamed former Gannett executive he described as "familiar with the months-long deliberations earlier this year" that came up with the limited home-delivery play. …

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