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Freep bleep 

News Hits read with interest Monday the front-page comments of Carole Leigh Hutton, publisher and editor of the Detroit Free Press. Good ol’ C.L. informs us readers that, thanks to a new "state-of-the-art" printing facility shared by the News and Freep in Sterling Heights, readers will soon be enjoying "far more color, crisper printing and less ink on your hands." She also informs that the Freep will be coming in a "slightly smaller, easier-to-handle format."

What she doesn’t tell her dear readers is that the paper will be saving a shitload of money by downsizing. We know of which we speak, because this rag did the same thing not long ago.

But there’s also some big changes going on at the paper that C.L. didn’t disclose. An informant from deep in the bowels of Freepland tells us that a major "rethinking" of the way the Freep delivers news is under way. At least that was the announcement made at a staff meeting last week. We can look forward to shorter news stories on the front page, along with ads below the fold. Taking the lead of USA Today’s McPaper format, the new Freep will allow readers to "flip" through all those tedious news stories. On the plus side, at least for those of us who think the term "flipper" should be reserved for dolphins, not news sections, there will be daily magazine sections offering (supposedly) more substantial fodder. The nature of these magazines will change daily, with men the primary focus on, say, Mondays, women on Tuesdays, bisexuals and transgenders on ... oh, wait, forget them. Other days will have, we kid you not, an emphasis on things like "getting smarter" or "enjoying good stuff like shopping, the world of entertainment, travel and points of view."

According to an office e-mail sent our way, teams are being organized to "brainstorm" the details. The rush is on. Prototypes are due by mid-July.

Oh, boy! We can hardly wait. News Hits, like everyone else in the metro area, is eager to become both smarter and a better consumer. And we thank Carole Leigh for helping us achieve those goals.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at NewsHits@metrotimes.com or

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