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WATCH: The Ann Arbor News to Go Out of Business on July 1st

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Local News

Tuesday, 24 March, 2009 1:55 AM

The Ann Arbor News to Shut Down Operations on July 1

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The front page of the today's Ann Arbor News.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

WATCH: The Ann Arbor News to Go Out of Business on July 1st

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It's another sign of the bad times. The newspaper industry is going down the tubes. Today, The Ann Arbor News announced it is going out of business. The 174-year-old newspaper will publish its last issue on July 1. Sister publications The Flint Journal, Saginaw News and The Bay City Times are cutting their ciculation to just three days a week.

Since The Ann Arbor News will no longer exist, all the news will be online on a new website called AnnArbor.com. It will be updated daily although a print copy will only be available two days a week. The daily newspaper in Ann Arbor will be going away.

"I'm not surprised -- they've been rationing it down for some time," said Bill Crawforth, an Ann Arbor attorney. "I think they really slit their throat when they cut way back on their high school sports coverage a couple of years ago. Small town newspapers for years have realized that if you print the names of as many kids as possible in your sports section, you'll sell papers. They stopped doing that. They don't cover the local news as well as they used to."

The newspaper will lay off its entire staff of 270 workers. When the new website goes live in July, former employees can apply for a job there. However, it will come with lower pay and less benefits.

"It sounds like they're going to hire some of the people," the lawyer said after reading a blog on MLive.com, the newspaper's current website. "It's a shame for people that work here. It will be a shame for the economy. Another hit here locally. You can do a website from anywhere. It's a changing industry. I think everybody realizes there won't be newspapers the way that we're used to."

A similar move happened in Seattle where the Hearst Corporation shut down the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The newspaper is also switching to an online-only format.

"It was pretty shocking," said Douglas Million, an Ann Arbor musician. "I read it not on a daily basis but depending on if it's in a certain area. I don't subscribe to it so it's not going to change anything as far as me contributing or anything like that."

The Ann Arbor News makes this decision a week before The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press will cut their home delivery to just three days a week. The Detroit newspapers are going to print only small editions to encourage people to get their news online.

Ann Arbor News's sister publications in Jackson, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Muskegon will all move their offices to Grand Rapids later this summer.

"I'm an older guy -- I read a newspaper," said Crawforth. "My son's 27, he gets his news off the internet. The only thing I'll miss is frankly I read my newspaper in two places -- in the bathroom and while i'm eating. My laptop doesn't work real well in neither one of those spots."

The new AnnArbor.com will publish a print edition on Thursday and Sunday with an advertising supplement once per week.


PHOTO ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo reports outside the Ann Arbor News headquarters.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Ann Arbor News main offices in downtown Ann Arbor.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A newspaper box with today's edition of The Ann Arbor News.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The main entrance to The Ann Arbor News headquarters.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Outside the Ann Arbor News headquarters.

 

 

 

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