The new company will be structured around three management teams, eliminating the current department-based structure.
In the process, Hook said several jobs were “redefined” and some management positions were eliminated. The company’s internal structure is now threefold: Revenue Development, Content/Audience Development and Operational Support.
“Our main motivation was to organize the management and staff for current business conditions,” Hook explained. “Our industry, like many others, has seen the landscape of their businesses change — we’re no different. A business model that was solid years ago isn’t necessarily so today.
“This isn’t a matter of eliminating staff simply to reduce costs,” he continued, “this is about being able to conduct business and better serve customers’ needs into the future. We will look differently and we will conduct business differently.”
Also announced at the Dec. 1 meeting was the retirement of Len Painter. A 37-year newspaper veteran, Painter has been working for the Tribune for the past 26 years and has served as managing editor since 1997. Painter will continue to have a presence in the Tribune, contributing as a columnist and carrying the title of editor emeritus.
Lighthouse Media is being formed to allow Grand Haven Publishing Co. to re-brand itself as more than just a daily newspaper, Hook said.
“As long as we refer to our company as the Grand Haven Tribune, that’s all people will ever know us for,” he explained. “We don’t just publish a paper, we have other products that are becoming a bigger part of our business each day, and people need to know about them.”
Other products that will be included as part of the Lighthouse Media company include the websites grandhaventribune.com and tribunerealestateguide.com; the Grand Haven Tribune e-edition; West Michigan Deals, which offers discounts to area businesses; a texting program; and various niche products.
Hook reiterated with the company’s staff that this is not a model where a series of staff cuts are experienced.
“Look around you,” he said at the staff meeting. “The people you see in this room are the people that are needed to move forward with our new business.”
Lighthouse Media will continue to publish the Grand Haven Tribune, Monday through Saturday. Hook assured the staff that there were no plans being discussed to reduce publishing days or the number of days the paper is distributed to subscribers’ homes.