The "digitally focused" Alabama Media Group will incorporate 'bama papers The Birmingham News, The Press-Register and The Huntsville Times and website al.com, with plans to launch in the fall as a three-days-a-week publishing schedule and layoffs, according to a release on al.com.
Of course, as Charles Maldonado notes, the details are irrelevant to Advance and Newhouse News. Not mentioned: how many reporters and staffers will be laid off, or how a downsized paper (which will have "enhanced" features and "more focus on local news") can offer any of that, when more than half a week of news is no longer in the printed record but online only in a state with not-so-dense Internet access, or really anything other than introducing your new fearless leaders.
The change is designed to reshape how Alabama's leading media companies deliver award-winning local news, sports and entertainment coverage in an increasingly digital age. The Alabama Media Group will dramatically expand its news-gathering efforts around the clock, seven days a week, while offering enhanced printed newspapers on a schedule of three days a week. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only.
Sound familiar? The Advance publishing group also runs The Times-Picayune and announced just hours before that the T-P will also experience the publishing changes and a "reduction in the overall size of the workforce," under the "NOLA Media Group."
Advance Central Services Alabama will handle distribution and is headed by Birmingham News publisher Pam Siddall who said, "We have seen such dramatic growth at al.com and have such strength and familiarity with our printed newspapers, the time is now for these changes. ... We have to be bold when it comes to positioning ourselves for the future.” Both the Alabama Media Group and Advance Central Services are under the Advance Publications Inc. umbrella.
Alabama Media Group president Cindy Martin said, “There are always painful choices when you begin a process that will lead to people losing their jobs. ... But at the same time, we must position ourselves to be sustainable businesses going forward. The new companies we launch in the fall, we believe, not only achieve that, but will serve our growing audiences and advertisers better than ever before."