A Tale of Two Cities Defies Media Stereotypes

“City A” is regarded as a Mecca for the educated and a symbol of transformation into the “new economy.”  “City B” is considered a crime-riddled, Rust Belt relic that leads the nation in unemployment.

So which city’s newspapers are in relatively better shape?  “City B’s” – by a wide margin.

For those not paying attention, “City B” is Detroit – with two daily newspapers publishing every day with new online products, even without home delivery four days per week.  “City A” is Boston, with one newspaper, the Boston Globe, hanging off the side of a cliff – it very nearly announced its closure today .  The city’s other a tabloid with just ten reporters.

Irony does make for a fascinating story, doesn’t it?

While the Globe tries to negotiate a business-saving deal with its unions, the Detroit Media Partnership begins, tomorrow morning, to deliver content on a new platform – television.  CBS’ TV stations in Detroit don’t produce their own newscasts. So, starting tomorrow, the Detroit Free Press attempts to seize a niche audience in the competitive morning news race.

Why?  The Detroit Free Press brand is the strongest for credible information in the market.  This article explains how it will all work on TV.  If the Free Press and CBS can even take away one ratings point – about 19,000 households – per hour, it will improve existing ratings and probably make money.  The Free Press brand and a new format will, plus promotion across multiple platforms, will likely lead to sampling, at least.

Too often, Metro Detroiters feel like tough times affect them worse than anywhere. In the case of their newspapers, the Boston example proves the grass is not always greener.  While the Boston Globe remains in cost-slashing mode, along with other outlets across the country, Detroit’s newspapers are trying to reinvent themselves as new kinds of information providers.