My city is getting its third daily newspaper next week. The Detroit Daily Press is carving out a space for itself amidst a market dominated by The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press. The Daily Press, which will offer regular home delivery, is believed to be the first daily launched in a major U.S. city since the New York Sun in 2002.
How did this come to be? Editor & Publisher has the story:
Brothers Mark and Gary Stern, who published dailies during newspaper strikes in Detroit and other cities years ago, plan to distribute 200,000 copies of their first edition in three counties.
... Staffed by former employees from other area newspapers, the Press newsroom is led by former Detroit News assistant features editor Bruce McLaughlan and is housed in a former newspaper headquarters in Royal Oak, just north of Detroit ...
... "The talent that's coming into this organization is going to make it a winner," said Stern.
The paper will cost less than the other local newspapers: weekday copies are 50 cents, Sundays are $1. Many talented journalists, who have been displaced by cutbacks, are finding a home at the Daily Press; it currently has 60 full-time employees. E&P indicates that the Stern brothers have enough capital to float the Daily Press for two months, and needs 150,000 subscribers to break even. Mark Stern says that, "this is a permanent situation for us."
What I think the Daily Press has going for it: It's locally-owned, rather than being a corporate arm. Most dailies were family-owned up through the early 1990s when the vast majority of them were sold to one media conglomerate or another. One of the most maddening pieces about the current newspaper business is how the lack of self-determination harms most publications. Gannett, for example, which owns the Free Press (among many, many others), reported record profits of $73.8 million in the third quarter this year, and awarded its executives cash bonuses of $2 million. And yet, it continues to order more and more layoffs (1,514 nationwide, and counting, just for this year.) This is appalling, and shows what happens when a company with zero stake in the community (Gannett is based near Washington, D.C.) takes control of media with the sole intention of building profit. Not coincidentally, the brothers are both Detroit natives who maintain a residence in the area, though they live mostly in the South.
I'm a subscriber to the Free Press, and a happy reader of it, but I'm definitely going to give the Daily Press my attention. If its content is as good as they say it is, I'll subscribe. I'm thrilled about it, and certainly cheering it on.
Thanks to Mike I. for being the first to tip me off to this news. Check out his engaging and newsy website, The Erie Hiker.