The Detroit Free Press
is the largest daily newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...
in Detroit, Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. The Sunday edition is entitled the Sunday Free Press
. It is sometimes informally referred to as the "Freep" (reflected in the paper's web address, www.freep.com). It primarily serves Wayne
-History:Wayne County was one of the first counties formed when the Northwest Territory was organized. It was named for the American general "Mad Anthony" Wayne. It originally encompassed the entire area of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, as well as small sections that are now part of northern...
-Demographics:As of the 2010 Census, there were 1,202,362 people, 471,115 households, and 315,175 families residing in the county. The population density as of the 2000 census was 1,369 people per square mile . There were 492,006 housing units at an average density of 564 per square mile...
, Macomb, Livingston
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 156,951 people, 55,384 households, and 43,531 families residing in the county. The population density was 276 people per square mile . There were 58,919 housing units at an average density of 104 per square mile...
Washtenaw County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 344,791. Its county seat is Ann Arbor. The United States Office of Management and Budget defines the county as part of the Detroit–Warren–Flint Combined Statistical Area...
, and Monroe
Monroe County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 population is 152,021. The largest city and county seat is Monroe. The U.S. Census Bureau defines all of Monroe County as conterminous with the Monroe Metropolitan Area...
The Free Press
is owned by Gannett and is the larger of Metro Detroit
The Detroit metropolitan area, often referred to as Metro Detroit, is the metropolitan area located in Southeast Michigan centered on the city of Detroit which shares an international border with Windsor, Ontario. The Detroit metropolitan area is the second largest U.S. metropolitan area...
's two major dailies (the other being the The Detroit News
The Detroit News is one of the two major newspapers in the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan. The paper began in 1873, when it rented space in the rival Free Press's building. The News absorbed the Detroit Tribune on February 1, 1919, the Detroit Journal on July 21, 1922, and on November 7, 1960,...
) and has received nine Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...
s and four Emmy Awards
. Editorially, the Free Press
is considered by some to be more liberal than The Detroit News
. The newspaper's motto is "On Guard for 180 Years."
1831–1987: competitive newspaper
The newspaper was first published as the Democratic Free Press and Michigan Intelligencer
on May 5, 1831. The first issues were printed on a Washington press purchased from the discontinued Oakland Chronicle
of Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan named after the Ottawa Chief Pontiac, located within the Detroit metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 59,515. It is the county seat of Oakland County...
. It was hauled from Pontiac in a wagon over rough roads to a building at Bates and Woodbridge streets in Detroit. The press could produce 250 pages an hour, hand operated by two men. The first issues were 14 by 20 in (355.6 by 508 mm) in size, with five columns of type. Sheldon McKnight became the first publisher with John Pitts Sheldon as editor.
In 1940 the Free Press
was sold to the Knight Newspapers (later Knight Ridder
Knight Ridder was an American media company, specializing in newspaper and Internet publishing. Until it was bought by The McClatchy Company on June 27, 2006, it was the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States, with 32 daily newspapers sold.- History :The corporate ancestors of...
) chain. During the following 47 years the Free Press
competed with the Detroit News
in the southeastern Michigan market. The Free Press
was delivered and sold as a morning paper while the News
was sold and delivered as an evening newspaper.
1987–present: joint operating agreement
In 1987, the paper entered into a hundred-year joint operating agreement with its rival, combining business operations while maintaining separate editorial staffs. The combined company is called the Detroit Newspaper Partnership. The two papers also began to publish joint Saturday and Sunday editions, though the editorial content of each remained separate. At the time, the Detroit Free Press
was the tenth highest circulation paper in the U.S., and the combined Detroit News and Free Press
was the country's fourth largest Sunday paper.
On July 13, 1995, Newspaper Guild
The Newspaper Guild-CWA is a labor union founded by newspaper journalists in 1933 who noticed that unionized printers and truck drivers were making more money than they did...
-represented employees of the Free Press
and the pressmen, printers and Teamsters working for the "Detroit Newspapers" distribution arm went on strike. By October, about forty percent of the editorial staffers crossed the picket line, and many trickled back over the next months and others stayed out for the two and a half years of the strike. The strike was resolved in court three years later, and the unions remain active at the paper, representing a majority of the employees under their jurisdiction.
In 1998, the Free Press
vacated its former headquarters in downtown Detroit and moved to offices inside the News
On August 3, 2005, Knight Ridder sold the Free Press
to the Gannett company, which had previously owned and operated the News
. The News
, in turn, was sold to MediaNews Group
MediaNews Group, based in Denver, Colorado, is one of the largest newspaper companies in the United States. It is privately owned and operates 56 daily newspapers in 12 states, with combined daily and Sunday circulation of approximately 2.4 million and 2.7 million, respectively...
; Gannett continues to be the managing partner in the papers' joint operating agreement.
On May 7, 2006, the Free Press
resumed publication of its own Sunday edition, without any content from the News.
A quirk in the operating agreement, however, allows the News
to continue printing its editorial page in the Sunday Free Press.
On December 16, 2008, Detroit Media Partnership announced a plan to limit weekday home delivery for both dailies to Thursday and Friday only. On other weekdays the paper sold at newsstands would be smaller, about 32 pages, and redesigned. This arrangement went into effect beginning on March 30, 2009.
Other Free Press publications
- The Detroit Almanac: 300 Years of Life in the Motor City (2001). Peter Gavrilovich and Bill McGraw, editors. ISBN 0-937247-34-0