The Ann Arbor News printed its last daily edition on Thursday as it moved to predominantly online, supported by a twice-weekly print edition on Thursday and Sunday, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The new Web site will be launched Friday.
"The devastating transformation of the newspaper industry and the severe economic impact on The News forced the painful decision to close our newspaper," Publisher Laurel Champion wrote on her front-page column. "But I hope you will remember us for many, many reasons."
"The seven-day-a-week print model just is not sustainable here," she stated, according to the AP. "We have very low home ownership. The population is transient and young. Those demographics have worked against us."
The AnnArbor.com Web site has hired more than a dozen newsroom employees, according to Champion.
The loss of the paper has readers worried that the newspaper's political surveillance role will be lost.
"I don't fear it - I'm certain," George Feldman, a local lawyer, told the AP. "The Ann Arbor News hasn't been a paper I've read for national or international news. It covers city hall, the universities, who's building what. It had a lot of things wrong with it, but it was our local newspaper."
Champion, the to-be executive vice president at AnnArbor.com, has promised the newspaper's journalistic roles will remain. "What's not being lost is the principle of local journalism. What's changing is the platform," she said.