RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
The newspaper industry is trying all sorts of ways to cut costs and survive. Today the company that operates Detroit's two major dailies, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, announced it will limit the number of days it offers home delivery. A union official also says nine percent of the workforce will be cut. Detroit Public Radio's Noah Ovshinsky reports.
NOAH OVSHINSKY: The recent announcement that the Christian Science Monitor was ceasing its daily print operation may have been a harbinger of what was to come. The newspaper industry, as a whole, has been relentlessly cutting costs this year as ad revenue, circulation, and credit availability continued to decline. But here in Detroit, the economic climate for newspapers is even worse, given the state of the Big Three automakers. Mike Simonton follows the newspaper industry for Fitch Ratings. He says he won't be surprised if the papers scale back home delivery to three days a week.
Mr. MIKE SIMONTON (Analyst, Fitch Ratings): A lot of revenue and a lot of profit for a newspaper comes from automotive classifieds, employment classifieds, and real estate classifieds. And we can see with what's going on in the economy that each of those is definitely under pressure.
OVSHINSKY: Even as more readers log on to newspaper Web sites, those sites rarely earn the newspapers much money. Stephen Lacy teaches media economics at Michigan State University.
Professor STEPHEN LACY (Media Economics, Michigan State University): The numbers of visits and hits, etcetera, page views, are going up at newspapers. The problem is when they sell advertising online, they're getting nickels instead of dollars.
OVSHINSKY: The print editions of the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press are unlikely to go away entirely under the plan now being discussed by managers. It's expected that a scaled-down print edition will still be available at newsstands. For NPR News, I'm Noah Ovshinsky in Detroit.
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