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Gannett, Gatehouse talking merger

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SoloFlyer, May 30, 2019.

  1. cubman

    cubman Member

    Not sure how I feel about this, having worked for Gannett for most of the first 12 years of my newspaper career and GateHouse since they bought our local major daily and weekly chain in 2015. Here in Ohio, it would mean the vast majority of central Ohio (plus Zanesville, Chillicothe and Coshocton) and several of the biggest papers across the state (Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron and Canton) would be under the same umbrella. GateHouse has paid far more attention to my shop and treated us every bit as well as the previous owners, as odd as that might sounds to some, but obviously I've seen what they have done to the Dispatch.
    I'll hold my judgment until something actually happens. We've seen both companies in these kinds of talks before and sometimes, nothing comes of it.
    Fredrick likes this.
  2. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    According to Ken Doctor Gatehouse was firing people this week because they are moving to regional reporting teams. The idea is that the regional team can provide content for a group of papers. Gatehouse needs to do this because they don't have enough bodies left in may places to put out a newspaper.

    Newsonomics: The potential GateHouse/Gannett merger shows “more scale!” is still the newspaper industry’s top strategy

    It is easy for me to imagine a scenario in sports where if the two companies merge that substantial consolidation would occur. In Indiana, Gannett/Gatehouse would, for example, cover IU from their Bloomington paper, Purdue from their local paper, Notre Dame from their South Bend paper and auto racing, the Colts, Butler basketball and the Pacers from Indianapolis. High school writers for the individual papers would be mostly fired.
    Liut likes this.
  3. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    GateHouse began advertising for a state editor in Missouri about three weeks ago. That person would oversee the Columbia Daily Tribune, as well as GateHouse newsrooms statewide. Don't know how many newspapers in Missouri GateHouse owns, but I'm aware of several.

    I think your scenario is dead-on.
    Fredrick likes this.
  4. cubman

    cubman Member

    We lost a news editor today at my weekly chain in Columbus. Only layoff as far as I am aware.
  5. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    This merger is a truck full of water careening headlong into a truck full of vinegar.

    You know what sound that makes?
    Fredrick and sgreenwell like this.
  6. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

  7. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    I heard about that and it’s absolutely bananas. They will save a lot in production and press staffing I’d imagine, but if I wanted a regional title I’d buy a daily.
    Smallpotatoes and HanSenSE like this.
  8. Raven

    Raven Active Member

    I still miss Romenesko.
    2muchcoffeeman and sgreenwell like this.
  9. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    Gannett already does that for college coverage in Indiana. The Lafayette J&C covers Purdue, the Muncie Star-Press covers Ball State. Indy & Louisville used to have separate IU beat writers before Gannett bought both newspapers, now there's one beat writer for both. The Star gets hammered by Purdue fans for having a dedicated IU beat writer but not one for Purdue, but if the Gannett/Gatehouse merger goes through, the only college beat writer in Indianapolis will be the one covering Butler.

    Gannett has pretty beefed-up preps coverage in Indianapolis, but it largely focuses on a few schools. High school sports remain a big deal in Indiana (especially outside of Indy - the preps coverage is as important to many readers in Bloomington and south central Indiana as the IU coverage), so if the suits in Virginia or wherever Gatehouse runs things decide to implement a one-size-fits-all model, that could crater the circulation in the small towns that are used to pro-level coverage of HS sports.
  10. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    You make excellent arguments and I agree with you. But Gatehouse cash flow is dropping. I also think that Gatehouse believes there will be a lag between the time when the coverage drops and the subscription is canceled so they will receive a short term bump in cash. And since Gatehouse seems to believe papers are dying anyway that short term bump is all they care about, IMO.
  11. Raven

    Raven Active Member

    Criminal. Hedge funds are the scorn of the Earth.
  12. rtse11

    rtse11 Active Member

    I don't believe the cost-cutters put mmuch thought into what coverage plays where. In my experience they seem to initially go by the "Xxxxxx model" where similar circulation equals similar staffing. Then, when dissatisfied customers lead to substantial circulation drops, they respond with further staff cuts.
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