The Associated Press November 2, 2011, 5:33PM ET

Booth Newspapers moving toward more online news

Booth Newspapers operations will be turned over to two new companies and home delivery for papers in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Jackson will be reduced in the coming year, it was announced Wednesday.

MLive Media Group and Advance Central Services Michigan will begin running Booth Newspapers and Mlive.com on Feb. 2, officials said in a news release.

MLive Media will take over content, sales and marketing operations for digital and print properties, including each of Booth's Michigan newspapers, while Advance Central Services will provide production, distribution, purchasing and other functions for MLive Media.

Both new companies will be based in Grand Rapids.

The changes are partly driven by how -- and when -- readers access news and information, according to Dan Gaydou, president of MLive Media.

"The news and advertising landscape is changing fast, but we are well-positioned to use our talented team and our long record of journalistic excellence to create a dynamic, competitive, digitally oriented news operation," Gaydou said.

"We will be highly responsive to the changing needs of our audiences and deliver effective options for our advertisers and business partners."

The digital-first media company will take over operations for Booth newspapers in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Jackson, Flint, Bay City, Saginaw and Kalamazoo; AnnArbor.com; the Advance Weeklies; and Mlive.com.

Beginning Feb. 2, home-delivery for The Grand Rapids Press, the Kalamazoo Gazette, The Muskegon Chronicle and the Jackson Citizen Patriot will move to Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Daily coverage will be on Mlive.com. Print editions will be published every day of the week with single-copy sales at locations in each market.

The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times are delivered on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Starting Dec. 13, they will begin offering Tuesday newsstand-only editions.

Other newspapers in the state have reduced home delivery as circulation numbers have dropped.

In 2009, the Detroit Free Press cut home delivery to the three days of the week that generate the most advertising revenue -- Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The Detroit News, which is owned by a separate company but published with the Free Press under a joint operating agreement, goes to homes only on Thursdays and Fridays. It doesn't have a Sunday edition.

The Detroit Free Press is available for purchase seven days a week, and The Detroit News is available six days a week.

The Flint Journal's home delivery will continue on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Ann Arbor's Thursday and Sunday delivery also will remain unchanged.

Printing and copy desk operations will be consolidated in the various markets. New newsroom offices will be opened in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Flint and Muskegon. Buildings housing current offices could be sold.

Operations at hub offices will continue in Ann Arbor, Saginaw, Jackson and Bay City. Jackson and Bay City offices will be remodeled to create digital workspaces.

"Our newspapers will continue to be an important part of MLive Media Group," Gaydou said. "This new course is inspired and driven by our desire to do what's right for our readers, our employees, our advertisers and the communities of Michigan we serve."

Layoffs are expected, but the number of workers losing their jobs has not been determined. Gaydou said many are expected to apply for jobs with the new company.

"Our digital-first company is going to be a smaller company, but it will be a highly effective communications and marketing solutions company," he said.

Gaydou will be joined at MLive Media by Matt Sharp, vice president of sales and marketing; Mark Hauptschein, chief digital officer; and John Hiner, vice president of content.

Mike Ply will be vice president and general manager of Advance Central Services.


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