Maybe once a year, a city has a news day as heavy as the one that just hit Detroit: The White House forced out the chairman of General Motors, word leaked that the administration wanted Chrysler to hitch its fortunes to Fiat, and Michigan State University’s men’s basketball team reached the Final Four, which will be held in Detroit.
All of this news would have landed on hundreds of thousands of Motor City doorsteps and driveways on Monday morning, in the form of The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.
Would have, that is, except that Monday — of all days — was the long-planned first day of the newspapers’ new strategy for surviving the economic crisis by ending home delivery on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Instead, on those days, they are directing readers to their Web sites and offering a truncated print version at stores, newsstands and street boxes.
I'm actually a big proponent of local papers. It's more and not less important to be informed at the local level in order to be an engaged citizen. It's far too easy to just vote in the national elections.
However, local reporting needs to find a new model that creates and engages actual information gathering and sharing. Three or four days a week isn't it. If a 24-hour news cycle is too long, how does a 48-to-72-hour news cycle make more sense?