Source: Detroit News, Free Press to move to Mexico
The DetroitNews and the Detroit Free Press, as well as their business agency, will relocate to Mexico later this year, likely outsourcing the majority of editorial positions to the Mexican city of Silao, according to a source who spoke to Metro Times on condition of “serious” anonymity. [EDIT: The following is an ill-conceived joke we thought was funny while drinking coffee in the MT office yesterday morning. This is not real. It is a joke. Got it?]
Real estate experts speculated last year that the two dailies would move down the street into the Federal Reserve building at 160 W. Fort, owned by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. Instead, the Detroit Media Partnership will move operations to the Warren-sized city in the west-central part of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, a decision that will affect roughly 600 employees, the source said.
“I’m stunned,” the source told Metro Times. “I don’t think any employee could’ve seen this coming.”
Free Press owner Gannett Co., Inc., which owns a 95 percent stake in the Detroit Media Partnership that governs the business operations of both newspapers, called the move “unprecedented” late Wednesday.
“The Freep and News had outgrown their previous building, and this move will allow them to continue unfettered, with a revamped staff,” said Gracia Martore, Gannett CEO, during a press conference delivered online over Skype Wednesday. “Obviously, we were looking for the most competitive labor costs,” she said. Though Martore declined to disclose the new wage scale, she appeared so overwhelmed with excitement about the imminent cost savings, she began levitating several feet in the air.
No details of the deal were made immediately available by Martore. As Crain’s Detroit Business reports, both papers have downsized staff and cut costs in recent years.
The source familiar with the deal told Metro Times that Nolan Finley, Detroit News editorial page editor, will be replaced with Pedro Lucas, a rising star in the Mexican conservative commentariat. It’s unclear if any current staff will relocate to Mexico, but the source said both papers will likely maintain a Sunday joint publication, and, in a surprise move to industry experts who spoke with Metro Times, return to a seven-day delivery, thanks to relaxed visa laws that will allow 1,000 Mexican braceros to move to the Detroit area, where they’ll be paid 15 cents a day to haul the papers door-to-door throughout metro Detroit.
It’s unclear what will happen with the dailies’ former home at 615 W. Lafayette.