In the Q&A session following Paul Anger’s acceptance speech, he was asked about the Detroit Free Press new business model. All of us attending the awards presentation — media professionals, journalism faculty, journalism students — were interested in the topic of new models for financing newspapers.
The Detroit Free Press has an e-Edition that replaces home delivery four days a week — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sumday. The purpose of this bold change was to “move beyond legacy expense,” Anger said. Those legacy media expenses being printing and circulation. The e-Edition has become a “tool to preserve newsroom resources,” meaning the jobs of those who are reporting and presenting the news (reporters, photographers, videographers, designers, etc.).
On the days the paper is not delivered to homes, the paper still is distributed to 18,000 locations — stores and vending machines. Visits to the e- Edition Web site spike on the four days.
Anger said that The Detroit Free Press was willing and able to make the big change from home delivery to the e-Edition in large part due to the dismal financial situation in Detroit. The move to more use of the Web “has worked out very well,” he said.
The e-Edition has more of the look and function of a newspaper, rather than the typical look of online news that doesn’t have the newspaper page design. The e-Edition has printing capabilities, letting readers print coupons, puzzles and articles. The e-Edition also has live links to businesses that advertise.