Hard Times at the News
News editors and designers spent much of 2008 considering ways to further shrink the paper, reducing the number of pages while preserving the articles and features readers value most. Candidates for consolidation are said to include state and national politics, world news, and entertainment news, though it's possible Booth may try it on some sports and business coverage too. And the News may eliminate some sections and some less popular features soon.
"It will be a very different newspaper," Carty predicts -"a considerably smaller newspaper," with fewer writers and photographers. And he is convinced that dig-deep reports like the one on student athletes are gone at the News. In his last year there he started seeing some tightening, and he foresees many more reductions, especially as the buyouts take effect in coming months.
Carty expects a "significant amount of people" to leave, partly because the buyouts are open to so many employees, and partly out of fear that they if they stay, they may end up working in Saginaw or Grand Rapids. Like him, many of them are considering a future outside newspapers-especially when it feels as though staying in the business will ask more from them and offer less. It's a sad story, even before the ending is in sight.
[Originally published in January, 2009.]