Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Arizona free daily cuts back to 4 days a week

In suburban Phoenix, the 102,000-circulation East Valley Tribune is switching to a 4-day-a-week publication schedule, eliminating 142 jobs including that of its executive editor Jim Ripley, and ending distribution and coverage in two cities, Scottsdale and Tempe.

The changes are dramatic for the paper that switched from paid to free distribution (with paid subscriptions) last year. Management is blaming the downturn in advertising but also said its parent company, Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom Communications, has not been able to trim costs fast enough to offset that drop despite three rounds of layoffs.

The changes will take place in early January, and those losing their jobs are getting three months notice.

"The new print edition will have two sections — one for local news and a second for sports, entertainment and late-breaking news. Both sections will be tabloid-sized, and the front page of the newspaper will look similar to its current layout. Zoned editions are planned for each of the four communities," said an announcement posted Monday night on the paper's website.