This is an announcement made today from Booth/Advance: This is either a press release or it is a Business News outlet's account of what is taking place: (There are huge changes, not the least of which is the end to a physical newspaper building and print shop in Flint staring Feb. 2.)
'"One of Michigan's largest media companies is restructuring into a digital-first company that its president says will better serve the needs of consumers and advertisers in Michigan.
Two new companies, MLive Media Group and Advance Central Services Michigan, will take over the operations of MLive.com, AnnArbor.com and Booth Newspapers, which operates papers in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Ann Arbor and Jackson. The changes take effect Feb. 2.
MLive Media Group will handle news and advertising, while Advance Central Services Michigan will handle production, distribution and human resources.
Modern media companies need to move aggressively into the digital world, offering news on phones, laptops and tablets, even as they continue printing newspapers, said Dan Gaydou, publisher of Booth Newspapers and The Grand Rapids Press. Gaydou will be president of MLive Media Group.
Those new demands for digital content, reflected in steady growth at MLive.com, require a new structure, he said. MLive.com is Michigan's largest news and information site, with 2.7 million monthly unique visitors.
"We are focusing where our audiences are telling us they are living," Gaydou said.
The restructuring will include some employee layoffs and cutbacks in newspaper home delivery in four markets, starting in February.
At the same time, MLive Media Group will open new offices and hire people to produce content for MLive.com and the newspapers, and those jobs are open to employees affected by layoffs and others interested in working for the new company, Gaydou said.
"If you're a typical citizen these days, you are monitoring news around the clock: reading us on MLive.com, in paper editions, in morning newsletters delivered to your email boxes, and on apps for your mobile devices," Gaydou said.
"We will deliver on every platform."
Four newspapers, The Grand Rapids Press, The Muskegon Chronicle, The Kalamazoo Gazette and The Jackson Citizen Patriot, still will publish seven days a week, but starting Feb. 2 will change to a three-day-a-week home-delivery schedule: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The newspapers will be available seven days a week at newsstands and by e-edition, which is the printed newspaper's digital edition for computers and tablets.
The Flint Journal will retain its current four-day home delivery schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. That same schedule will apply to The Saginaw News and The Bay City Times with the addition, beginning Dec. 13, of a home-delivered Tuesday newspaper. That edition currently is available only on newsstands in Bay City and Saginaw.
In Ann Arbor, Thursday and Sunday home delivery of AnnArbor.com's print edition will remain unchanged.
The number of employee layoffs is undetermined, Gaydou said, because he expects many displaced employees will seek jobs with the new company. The new company, however, will employ more local and state content producers overall, with less spending on structural costs, he said.
"Our digital-first company is going to be a smaller company, but it will be a highly effective communications and marketing solutions company," Gaydou said.
"We will be a growth-oriented company, more innovative and more engaged with the community."
MLive.com will add new features and its website will be redesigned. The company will invest heavily in product development in partnership with Advance Digital (formerly Advance Internet), an affiliated company that is a leader in the digital news and information space.
Media companies must innovate to serve a growing online readership, even as print circulation declines across the nation, Gaydou said.
"This is a new path that has promise. It offers growth opportunities for our employees, and a new way of reaching audiences," Gaydou said. "It's what's right for communities. We're making these changes to do our job better."
Gaydou, who has worked for the Booth family of newspapers for 36 years, also announced these changes:
-- New newsrooms, or hub offices, will be opened in downtowns of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Flint and Muskegon, on or around Feb. 2. The current newspaper buildings in those four cities could be sold. "We're looking at properties and negotiating leases," he said.
-- Hub offices will continue in their current locations in Saginaw and Ann Arbor, as well as in Bay City and Jackson, where offices will be remodeled.
--Job openings at MLive Media Group will be posted in the coming days at mlivemediagroup.com.
-- The four newspapers moving to three-day-a-week home delivery will add new features and be larger on delivery days. The Sunday paper will include a new section with TV listings, puzzles and other popular features for the entire week.
-- Some statewide accounting services for the Michigan newspapers will be moved to a related company office in Delaware, and the Grand Rapids, Flint and Jackson circulation call centers will be moved to an outside vendor.
-- Newspapers will be printed in three locations: Walker, Ann Arbor and at the Bay City-area plant called Valley Publishing. The Flint print production facility will close Feb. 2, and full-time press employees will be transferred to Valley Publishing.
-- The Grand Rapids-area Advance Weeklies will continue to be published. The Flint community weeklies and Kalamazoo Hometown editions will be discontinued early in 2012.
-- The weekly West Michigan Business Review print product will end Jan. 1, and its content moved to MLive.com.
-- MLive Media Group's other top officers will be Matt Sharp, vice president of sales and marketing, Mark Hauptschein, chief digital officer; and John Hiner, vice president of content.
-- Advance Central Services Michigan will be led by Mike Ply, who will be vice president and general manager. It will oversee all production, distribution, purchasing, accounting, human resources and other support for MLive Media Group.