Ann Arbor Kills Its Newspaper — To Save It

Ann Arbor is the first big town to lose its daily paper--now it's a laboratory for new media

Brian Reynolds / The Ann Arbor News

Copies of the final edition of the Ann Arbor News make their way to the delivery trucks at Ann Arbor Offset near Ann Arbor, Mich. on Thursday, July 23, 2009. The paper ceased publication Thursday after 174 years

When Larry Kestenbaum, clerk of Washtenaw County, Michigan, was in Lansing for a meeting recently, he saw something unfamiliar on the faces of the other clerks: pity. Colleagues from hard-pressed towns like Flint, Jackson and Kalamazoo were offering sympathy because, despite everything, they still had a local newspaper, while Ann Arbor, his county seat, did not.

At first blush, Ann Arbor is an unlikely place to earn the dubious distinction of being the first good-size municipality in the U.S. to give up on its only daily newspaper. A2, as the town is known, is more or less the beauty queen of...

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