Detroit’s Two Newspapers Plan To Slash Jobs Before Holidays

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Management of The Detroit Free Press, owned by Gannett (NYSE:GCI) and The Detroit News, owned by Digital First Media, will put a number of their editorial workers on the streets, permanently, for the holidays. The decision to do so is a sign that both the newspaper industry and the City of Detroit remain deeply troubled

According to Crain’s Detroit Business:

The Detroit Free Press is seeking volunteer layoffs among targeted members of its editorial staff as it tries to cut expenses.

The move comes days after rival The Detroit News offered similar buyouts to its entire editorial staff as both papers deal with an industrywide decline in print advertising revenue.

The paper needs to lay off 17 in its editorial department to shore up its 2017 budget, Crain’s has learned. The Free Press is seeking to cut 13 percent of its editorial staff, including four assistant editors, three reporters, three copy editors, four web staff, two photographers and one page designer, sources confirmed to Crain’s.

It has been decades since Detroit could reasonably support two daily newspapers The city has nearly been destroyed by the collapse of the car industry. It has also been through bankruptcy. The most telling number about Detroit’s situation is that its population in 1970 was over 1.5 million. That number is now well below 700,000 and is probably still dropping

Both newspapers function under a joint operating agreement which created the Detroit Media Partnership. The theory behind the agreement is that combined business departments save costs. Clearly, that no longer works well enough

Gannett has struggled recently as poor earnings and an attempted buyout of the tronc (NASDAQ: TRNC) newspaper chain dropped its stock. It is down 40% in the last year to $10

No matter what the reason, it seems particularly cruel to dump people before the holidays