Owner: Advance Publications
March 10, 2009; has not been officially announced by the paper March 23, 2009
Effective: June 4, 2009
Free From Editors reports employees the Flint Journal, Bay City Times and Saginaw News will lay off employees, cut the number publication days three and consolidate copy desks. The daily paper will cut its publication days to Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Printing also will be outsourced. 35 percent of the work force will be laid off at The Flint Journal, The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times. 82 employees will be laid off.
Sources: The Flint Journal; The Flint Journal; Free From Editors via Paper Cuts tip
* Updated March 26, 2009, with the official announcement from the newspaper.
** Updated March 27, 2009, with the number of employees to be laid off.
by Bryn Mickle | The Flint Journal
Thursday March 26, 2009, 8:52 AM
FLINT, Michigan — The Flint Journal will lose 82 full- and part-time workers in layoffs announced this week, according to paperwork filed with the state.
The layoffs are expected to take effect by the end of May.
Flint Journal Publisher David C. Sharp said the layoffs were based on the decision to print the newspaper three times a week instead of daily.
“This has been incredibly difficult,” said Sharp. “We’re laying off many good people and many good friends.”
Effective June 1, The Journal will publish print editions on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays only. The paper will continue to update news daily on its Web site at mlive.com/flint.
The layoffs represent 34 percent of Flint Journal workers, with 156 remaining.
The workers who remain will take pay cuts and also will be required to pay a portion of their health care benefit costs, said Sharp. Pensions will be frozen, but the company is boosting 401(k) contributions, he said.
Sharp has said the changes were prompted by steep drops in revenue.
“This is happening everywhere,” said Sam Maci, president of the Graphic Communications International Union Local 13-N, which represents a press operator who was laid off this week.
by Ron Fonger | The Flint Journal
Monday March 23, 2009, 4:04 PM
FLINT, Michigan — The Flint Journal will stop publishing a daily newspaper in June and instead print only Thursday, Friday and Sunday editions, employees were told today.
The production cuts were announced along with layoffs and reduced wages and benefits for those who remain. Publisher David C. Sharp said the changes were brought on by deep reductions in classified, real estate and automobile advertising.
Sharp would not discuss the finances of the privately held company that owns The Journal, the Newhouse Family’s Advance Publications.
But he said The Journal has been losing money and would have been forced to close without the reductions.
Readers of the newspaper can expect more local news on days The Journal is published and “greater Web offerings throughout the week,” Sharp said.
“I feel like there is a real opportunity about the future,” he said. “The strategy we’re putting in place will help us be around for a long, long time.”
Newspaper employees started to get word of the massive changes in meetings this morning as changes were also being announced at other Advance newspapers.
The Journal will no longer be printed in Flint but in Bangor Township, where some production functions will be combined with The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times.
Those papers also announced Monday that they would cut print publication to three days a week, and Sharp said about 35 percent of employees at the three papers were being laid off.
The Ann Arbor News, also owned by Advance, announced Monday it will publish its last edition in July and launch a new Web-based media company called AnnArbor.com LLC later this year.
Timothy Boudreau, associate professor of journalism at Central Michigan University, said Monday’s cuts show a deepening economic collapse at many newspapers.
“Is there a future in journalism? I hope so,” Boudreau said. “I don’t want to be pessimistic … but I don’t think the industry has figured out what it’s going to do.”
Boudreau said newspaper companies could be harming themselves by cutting home delivery to readers, some of whom have been subscribers for decades.
But Sharp said circulation is not the problem for The Journal as much as lost advertising. The revenue from subscriptions alone cannot support the newspaper’s expenses.
“The lack of consumer confidence has people not buying,” Sharp said, and businesses consider advertising a controllable cost that they can quickly stop when buying slows.”Our combined audience (print and online) has never been stronger,” Sharp said. “We are going to produce better products that people will be delighted to receive.”