Ann Arbor’s daily paper spent $14 million to build new presses in Pittsfield Township. It launched a Livingston County edition, expanded its Ypsilanti office, and created the weekly Business Review.
“They have not been cheap with money,” recalls Jim Carty, until recently the paper’s star sportswriter. Besides the new presses, he says, the paper invested in renovating “the entire downtown offices.”
The News flew Carty to the Gulf Coast to write about a Michigan football player who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, and to New England to interview former athletes about their academic experiences. He recalls the “hundreds of hours of overtime” invested in that series on athletics and academics, and big bills to acquire documents from the university.
But recently the Ann Arbor News hit the brakes—hard. It not only stopped spending money but started slashing staff and other expenses. Staff lists show that between 2004 and 2008 the newsroom headcount fell by more than 30 percent, from 107 to 73 people.