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Detroit Newspapers to Change Owners

From Associated Press

Gannett Co., the nation’s largest newspaper company, is buying the Detroit Free Press from Knight Ridder Inc. and MediaNews Group Inc. will take ownership of the Detroit News from Gannett, the companies announced Wednesday.

Gannett and Knight Ridder also announced an exchange of newspapers in Florida, Washington and Idaho. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Gannett is buying the Tallahassee Democrat in Florida from Knight Ridder. Knight Ridder is purchasing Gannett’s newspaper in Boise, the Idaho Statesman, and two Washington state newspapers, the Olympian and the Bellingham Herald.

The Detroit News, which now primarily publishes in the afternoon, will become a morning paper, the companies said. And instead of publishing a combined paper on Saturdays and Sundays, the News and Free Press will each publish separate Saturday editions and the Free Press alone will publish on Sunday.

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“Two daily newspapers, competing editorially in the city of Detroit. That’s the bottom line of today’s transactions,” Gannett Chief Executive Craig Dubow said in a statement.

MediaNews Group said David J. Butler, editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, would become publisher and editor of the Detroit News.

Gannett, headquartered in McLean, Va., publishes 101 daily newspapers, including USA Today. Knight Ridder, based in San Jose, is the nation’s second-largest newspaper publisher. Privately held MediaNews Group of Denver, headed by Dean Singleton, owns the Denver Post and 39 other daily papers, including the Los Angeles Daily News.

Gannett shares fell 27 cents to $72; Knight Ridder rose 19 cents to $62.10.

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