Detroit paper launches, folds five days later

In a year when many newspapers struggled to stay afloat, a breath of fresh air seemed to whistle through Detroit when two veteran newspaper publishers launched a new paper, the Detroit Daily Press, last Monday.

In June, brothers Mark and Gary Stern, who published papers in New York, St. Louis and Minneapolis during newspaper strikes in the 60s, 70s and 80s, announced their intention to launch a paper to compensate for dwindling Detroit news coverage. In addition to providing the city with more continuous printed news (the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press had reduced their home delivery to three days per week earlier this year), the new daily would provide Detroit with some much-needed employment opportunities — the newsroom would offer 60 new jobs.

The paper, they said, would sell for 50 cents during the week and $1 for the Sunday edition. Home delivery was set to begin Nov. 30. “We are affordable, both to the advertiser and the reader,” Mark Stern told the AP before the launch. And on Tuesday, Jim Lingemann, the paper’s circulation director, told the AP sales and subscriptions were “much better than expected,” despite printing, trucking and retail glitches.

But the anachronistic business venture lasted less than a week. In a message posted on the paper’s Facebook wall today, the brothers announced they were temporarily shuttering their paper:

Due to circimstances [sic] beyond our control, lack of advertising, lateness of our press runs and lack of distribution and sales, we find it necessary to temporarily suspend publication of the Detroit Daily Press until after the 1st of the year. Once we can fix these things, we plan to be back stronger and more organized when we return. This is just a bump in the road and not the end of the Detroit Daily Press.

The brothers may attribute the temporary suspension to a wide variety of unforeseen setbacks, but maybe they should have also included a need for better editing in their reasoning. The newspaper market is a rough place these days, and if the Sterns hope to generate readership when they relaunch the paper, investing in a copy editor who can correct the spelling of ‘circumstances’ might give the fledgling paper more credibility.

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