The Death of the News
Laurel Champion, also wearing a pinstripe suit, is the last to speak. A third-generation publisher, she has been at the helm of the Ann Arbor News since 2005. Hers is a difficult task: she has to acknowledge the anger and sadness provoked by the death of the daily paper while trying to sell its successor. "With every ending is a new beginning," she says. She also praises the Ann Arbor News staff as "extremely talented" and insists "there's nothing they did wrong."
Yet on the morning of Monday, March 23, Champion told the staff - and then the community - that the Ann Arbor News, which traces its editorial lineage all the way back to 1835, will cease publication sometime in July. Stories about its demise appeared almost immediately on mlive.com, the website that provides online content for the News and Booth Newspapers' seven other Michigan publications. Ironically, though, the news about the death of the News didn't show up in the newspaper itself until the following afternoon - long after the bloggers had filed multiple pieces and the television trucks had pulled out of the paper's parking lot.
As the subsequent company-sponsored forums revealed, the announcement hit older readers with particular force. Kittie Morelock, a retired social worker, says she is "digitally competent" and online most days but is sad to think of all that will be lost when the News doesn't show up on her doorstep every afternoon: editorial cartoons, Jo Mathis' columns, crime items, and all the "little things that I'll talk to my friends about.