Newspapers offer fresh faces

Four major US daily newspapers sported makeovers as they grapple with life in a world of digital news.

Four major US daily newspapers sported makeovers Monday as they grapple with life in a world of digital news. Some of the biggest changes were happening in Detroit, where the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News offered free copies of their newly slimmed-down Monday editions. The newspapers now will be delivering to homes just three days a week - Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, the most popular days for advertisers. The newspapers also were promoting electronic versions that are laid out like the printed editions. The regular on-line editions will be open for free to anyone, but the electronic versions that have the newspaper layout will be subscriber only. The newspapers said higher-than-expected demand caused delays in the digital editions' loading times. Elsewhere, The Washington Post put out its first newspaper with business news folded into the front section. And The International Herald Tribune introduced a redesigned print edition and took on a new form on-line, merging with the Web site of The New York Times, which is published by the same company. Gannett Co. and MediaNews Group Inc., which publish the Free Press and the News in partnership, said more than 500,000 copies were distributed free for the first time in those newspapers' history. The Free Press had a weekday circulation of 298,243 at last count, while the News had 178,280. Both newspapers will be kept shorter than usual - about 32 pages - on the four days they don't deliver. The Detroit newspapers hope their strategy slashes production and delivery costs but maintains enough print ad revenue to sustain vibrant news-gathering operations. "We believe in great newspapers seven days a week," Dave Hunke, chief executive of Detroit Media Partnership and publisher of the Free Press, said in a statement. "Both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News have been redesigned with readers' needs in mind. You will find more local news within these pages quickly and easily and content that no other source in Michigan can provide." Meanwhile, the Web site of the New York Times Co.'s International Herald Tribune moved to A link from the Times's Web site offers readers its "global" on-line edition, which features the IHT masthead over a Web site that looks almost identical to, but features international news more prominently. Times officials hope that by combining the two sites, IHT's content will reach millions more readers, and the company could boost on-line traffic overall. The print edition got a revamp with the word "International" looming larger over its front page, a new typeface and layouts and the addition of a weekend culture section. At The Washington Post, business and economic coverage moved inside the "A'' section, and a daily page on Washington business news replaced a weekly one that used to run on Mondays. An index of headlines also appeared on page A2 with a list of the most popular stories on-line. The print edition of the newspaper's Style section lost some of its comic strips, which will still run on-line.