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August 08, 2005 - Image 1

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-08-08

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Opinion 4 From the Daily: Other
ways to unplug City
Council's ears
Photo 12 Experience Ozzfest

AJbr £ibigan 4a7Iv Monday, August 8,2005
Summer Weekly
One-hundredfourteen years of editorial freedom

www.micaganday.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXV, No. 137 @2005 The Michigan Daily
state police
By Jeremy Davidson
Daily News Editor
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has chal-
lenged a law that allows police to issue Breathalyzer tests to
civilians under the age of 21 without a search warrant.
Under current state law, it is illegal to refuse a Breathalyzer
test, which measures blood alcohol content. If a person refuses
to submit to the test they are guilty of a civil infraction, and
1fnmay be punished with a $100 fine, or by being arrested.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit last Thursday on behalf
of two women in Saginaw County against Thomas Township
4 -police.
Katie Platte, one of the women the ACLU is representing, said she
a O was forced to submit to the test while sitting outside of her friend's
house by the pool in the late afternoon. Thomas Township police told
Platte and her friends that if they didn't submit to a Breathalyzer test,
they would be taken to jail.
The test revealed that Platte, who is now a student at Saginaw Val-
ley State University,hadnot been drinking, and she was not punished,
but she was still forced to submit to an unconstitutional search.
"You're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but in this
case young people are assumed guilty until they prove they're inno-
cent," Platte said.
Department of Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said that in
accordance with the state law, students who refused to take the test
wouldbe cited with a civil infraction.
The DPS policy appears to be stricter than that of the Ann Arbor
Police Department. AAPD officers do not issue citations to individu-
als who refuse a Breathalyzer test, but added that a police officer
Franklin and Noel Kramer of Washington, D.C. passed by the "Remember Hiroshima" writings near the Michigan Union last Sunday. Along South could still have the ability to charge someone, by either a sobriety
State Street, painted body outlines served to remind people of August 6, 1945 - the day Hiroshima were bombed. test, or by obtaining a search warrant, AAPD Deputy Police Chief
Gregory O'Dell said.
See ACLU, Page 3
Gannet purchases Detroit ree Press

The purchasing of the
Free Press makes Gannet
Co. the largest newspaper
chain in the United States.
By Anne VanderMey
For the Daily
The Knight Ridder publishing company sold
the Detroit Free Press to media giant Gannet Co.
last Thursday, prompting concerns from some
that the quality of Michigan's largest newspaper
would suffer under the nation's largest corporate
publishing chain.
The Free Press was one of six papers that trad-
ed hands that day as Knight Ridder and Gannett
upset the media market in four different states.
The Detroit News, Michigan's second most
widely circulated paper, formerly controlled by
Gannett, was sold to a smaller private company
called MediaNews Group.
The transaction will make the Free Press the
crowned jewel of Gannett's formidable collec-
tion of newspapers in southeastern Michigan.
It already owns Hometown Communications

Network Inc., a newspaper company that serves
Detroit and neighboring counties, and Third
Street Publications, which delivers magazines to
the suburbs of Detroit.
All this did not come as good news to Jack
Lessenberry, Wayne State University journalism
professor and former foreign correspondent and
executive national editor of the News.
"Some of us already had concerns that
Gannett was too dominant," he said Friday.
Lessenberry expressed fear that the edi-
torial style of the Free Press was likely to
"Gannett tends to make papers dull and
mediocre," Lessenberry said.
Lessenberry is not the only one who is crit-
ical of Gannett's track record in producing
quality journalism.
Terry Foster, sports writer for the News
under Gannett, felt the company was so pre-
occupied with turning a large profit that it
shied away from good stories if it thought
they might inflame customers or advertisers.
"If they felt that something was too offen-
sive for the community, they didn't want to
report it," Foster said.
As an example, Foster cited a story he

wrote about a father involved in the Amateur
Athletics Union Junior Olympics who wanted
to pull his three children out of the games.
According to Foster, Gannett held the story
from print, because of a marketing agreement
held with AAU that prohibited any coverage
that might reflect poorly on the organization.
Alternatively, many people feel that Knight
Ridder was as financially oriented as Gannett.
Former Free Press reporter Michael Bet-
zold, who now works for the Ann Arbor
Observer, believes editorial procedure is not
likely to be significantly changed by the Gan-
nett takeover.
When asked if he was worried about the
developing corporate culture at the Free
Press, Betzold said the Free Press's cred-
ibility had already been compromised by
the long and bitter labor dispute of the mid-
1990s. "They made the deal with the devil
long ago," Betzold said.
In contrast, some believe the new arrange-
ment with Gannett and MediaNews is a posi-
tive change. Since 1989 the two papers have
published under a joint operating agreement,
and although the owners split the profits
equally, many felt the terms of the agreement

left the News at a distinct disadvantage.
Under the revised agreement, the Detroit
News will become a morning paper, put-
ting it into direct competition with the Free
Press, which had formerly controlled the
more profitable morning market. But only
the Free Press will be allowed to produce a
Sunday paper.
Renewed competition between the News
and the Free Press in the morning market
should incite both papers to put more resourc-
es toward the newsrooms, University commu-
nications professor Ben Burns said.
He added that, because the Detroit News
now has the ability to distribute a morning
paper, it has a fighting chance to compete.
Media analyst John Mortonof Morton Research
agreed. "As an afternoon paper, it wasn't a ques-
tion of if (the News would close down), it was a
question of when," he said. He also notedthat an
added advantage for the News will be the leader-
ship of MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton,
whom Morton praised for turning an underdog
paper, the Denver Post, into a prominent state-
wide competitor.
In addition to new corporate leadership,
See FREE PRESS, Page 3

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