Of all the journalism related posts I have put up, this is the one I least wanted to do. But the information is solid and it doesn't seem right to have the information and not pass it along to the folks most impacted by it.
Reportedly, some time next week, publishers at the Flint Journal, Bay City Times and Saginaw News are expected to call together their staffs to announce the following:
1.) The three papers will reduce publication to three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The date of the change I don't know. (No one mentioned my terrible verb tense, I've fixed it today)
2.) The reduction in publication days will void the long held "lifetime" employment pledge of Newhouse and Booth.
3.) An unspecified number of employees will be laid off and will receive some type of severance, which they must "voluntarily" accept. The company will recommend the State give the severed employees unemployment compensation.
4.) Those employees who stay will face reduced pay and benefits, which will be adjusted to conform to the pay and benefits currently paid at weekly newspapers.
5.) The printing of the Flint Journal will cease at the Flint PDC and will be transferred to the printing plant that is currently printing the Bay City Times and the Saginaw News.
6.) There will be a central copy desk for the three newspapers, but newspapers will retain separate newsrooms.
7.) Some sections of the three-times a week paper will be identical among the three papers.
All this is a result of the continuing economic collapse of Michigan and Flint, Bay City and Saginaw specifically. Ad revenues and newspaper losses have not been covered by the already draconian cuts suffered by the papers.
It will be interesting to see if the salaries of the editors and upper management will also be cut to match those of folks in similar positions at weekly newspapers. I heard at least one publisher may get a $430,000 severance.
No one will be happier than I if this information turns out to be some kind of plant in an effort to trip me up. But my reading of the information that I have shows otherwise. I held off nearly 24 hours to give the company a chance to announce these things before I did. Hopefully, because I'm posting this for a 1 p.m. release, maybe they have already released this information.