Detroit News and Free Press Cut Newsroom Staffs to the Bone

December 17, 2016, 1:31 PM by  Allan Lengel

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. -- Thomas Jefferson

The ability to keep tabs on government, crime and other events in this town keeps shrinking. 

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, which have historically provided a steady stream of news and exposed wrongdoing, continue to lay off editors and other journalists to meet tighter budgets. 


In November, the News and Free Press announced cuts through buyout opportunities, but apparently not enough people accepted to avoid layoffs.

Now, Bill Shea of Crain's Detroit Business reports that The Detroit News has cut more newsroom staff this week, including personal finance columnist Brian O'Connor.

These 14 others are leaving:

Graphics editor Tim Summers and artist Aaron Hightower; photo editor Chris Farina and three photographers -- Brandy Baker, Donna Terek, Steve Perez;  assistant metro editor Nick Assendelft; sports copy editor Dave Holzman and night editor Ruben Luna; assistant editorial page Editor Nick Hahn; copy editor Bruce Mason; digital producer Scott Zacharias; editorial assistants Alesia Cunningham and Kyla Smith.

"With these notifications now complete, we’ll be restructuring our coverage groups to serve the community on our digital and print platforms," a Detroit News memo say.

At the Free Press, 17 newsroom staffers are leaving, according to a colleague's Facebook post Friday night. They include senior content strategist Bill Emkow, hired 10 months ago, and digital tem members Amy Etmans Huschka, Michele Siuda Jacques and Jamie Smith.

Sometimes newspapers tell readers they'll do more with less. Don't buy it. The outcome will be less with less. 

Instead, we'll rely more on government press releases and politicians tweeting what they think we should know.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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