There’s a saying among politicians that all politics is local. The same is true for news.

canstockphoto5414691So what happens when MLive Media Group announces yet another round of cutbacks in the state, including 29 layoffs in editorial staff –apparently divided among the eight news hubs in the cities that once had vibrant newspapers – and the relocation of “News leadership,” what we used to call editors, out of local offices?

That, of course, includes the Kalamazoo Gazette. MLive, in its carefully worded, cryptic announcement on Jan. 6, stated “the number of staff members producing content … remains intact statewide, although some roles will evolve based on audience demands.” Yet in the very next sentence, the announcement went on, “Overall, 29 content positions will be eliminated.”

I think MLive’s announcement could have used some better editing, though MLive said positions eliminated will be “primarily through reducing management roles and jobs related to newspaper production.” Perhaps more ominous for local news coverage, John Hiner, MLive’s vice president of content, said, “News leadership has been restructured around regional management.”

The emphasis is on statewide coverage. That’s important, but local communities also need local news if we’re going to make sense of what’s going on, in our towns, our cities, our state. Hiner said MLive will maintain “essential news coverage in local markets,” but the decision on what local news is essential and how it will be reported will not be made locally. But hey, MLive’s Michigan’s Best food and travel series will be expanded. So what’s the problem? More