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Detroit papers make digital transition

Coincidentally, the same day Michigan newspapers were dominated by news of the Michigan State basketball team earning a berth to the Final Four in Detroit and the Obama administration forcing the CEO of General Motors out, Detroit's main newspapers officially began their new lives as primarily digital papers.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press still had print editions led by the two major stories, but each published single-section 32-page papers that were only available at select locations around the state. The papers were distributed free for the first edition. The papers also offer same-day mail delivery, but morning home delivery will now be limited to Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“We absolutely believe in the future of great newspapers, but we can no longer do business as usual,” Dave Hunke, then the CEO of the Detroit Media Partnership and publisher of the Detroit Free Press, said in a news release. “These changes allow us to focus our resources on strengthening the content we provide readers instead of investing in paper, ink and fuel."

The Detroit Media Partnership operates the papers under a joint operating agreement. These changes were announced Dec. 16. The online editions are available for the cost of a subscription, but each paper continues to run their main Web sites that offer the stories for free.

The Free Press is owned by Gannett, which controls the JOA. The Freep's Web site about the change is freep.com/section/freepress. The paper's
e-edition Web site is digitalfreepress.com.

The Detroit News is owned by MediaNews Group. The News' Web site about the change is detroitmedia.com/dntransform. The paper's e-edition Web site is edetroitnews.com.

The papers announced Monday their news content would soon be available on two portable e-reader devices: Amazon'a Kindle and a reader produced by Plastic Logic. Hunke had talked about this earlier in March, but released more details Monday.

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