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Gatehouse Media

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Doc Holliday, May 6, 2016.

  1. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    A newspaper I was considering going to work for is owned by Gatehouse Media. I don't know much about Gatehouse Media, but it seems I've read that they're a horrible outfit on here.

    Can anybody give me some of the gory details of the craphole I'd be stepping into if I took a job with them? Or are they a company I'd be happy with? Just curious if it's that bad or only a couple of random posts I've read on here.
     
  2. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Active Member

    Maybe the best thing to be said for Gatehouse is that after its buying spree over the years, it's probably too big to fail financially in the short and medium term. Also, some of the recent acquisitions are bigger papers with solid reputations (such as the Columbus Dispatch).

    There's also still something of a commitment to print edition copy-editing with the central desk, although the pay there is low and the quality of work (based on the limited sample size I've seen) is so-so at best.

    I've probably got a bias against Gatehouse because it has taken on outsourced copy-editing jobs from other companies, putting friends and acquaintances out of work. But maybe my ill will should be directed more toward the companies doing the outsourcing.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  3. TGO157

    TGO157 Member

    I just ended my employment at a Gatehouse paper. You could do worse, but Gatehouse is basically copying everything from Gannett's playbook down to the "if you don't generate page views, you'll be let go." Someone at a nearby Gannett shop was let go, according to our publisher who once was SE at this paper, for that reason. Not enough of a "digital footprint." I don't know if it was a position slash or someone getting canned and replaced, but that was apparently the justification.

    Gatehouse is heading in that direction, where people's job security will be judged largely on analytics. Whether that's logical or shitty is for you to decide. Gatehouse is big on digital.
     
  4. TGO157

    TGO157 Member

    I just ended my employment at a Gatehouse paper. You could do worse, but Gatehouse is basically copying everything from Gannett's playbook down to the "if you don't generate page views, you'll be let go." Someone at a nearby Gannett shop was let go, according to our publisher who once was SE at this paper, for that reason. Not enough of a "digital footprint." I don't know if it was a position slash or someone getting canned and replaced, but that was apparently the justification.

    Gatehouse is heading in that direction, where people's job security will be judged largely on analytics. Whether that's logical or shitty is for you to decide.
     
  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses. At least there hasn't been an overwhelming negative reaction like I thought.
     
  6. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Well, having watched now Gatehouse is running our local paper these days I damn sure wouldn't want to work there.

    The desk was laid off and design is now done at a central hub. They have no local knowledge, so hed busts happen regularly in the sports section. They scan a story and write a hed of "Podunk Giants Beat Valley" when Valley's mascot is the Giants, not Podunk. A few weeks ago, a subhead was an entire graf of body copy lifted directly from the story. On an MLB story, the hed was "Cardinals 5, Brewers 2."

    Oh, and since they print the paper at a facility 60 miles away (after designing it at the hub), the copy deadline is 8 p.m. most nights.
     
  7. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    Gatehouse isn't horrible, not as bad as I've read about some other outfits. If your publisher is really strong and will go to bat for the employees, it's better. But the biggest gripe I have about Gatehouse, as Inky mentioned, is they have zero knowledge of how to adapt their model to individual papers. They demand papers in California do what they do in metro Chicago or Boston and wonder why it doesn't work across all markets. They like to pinch pennies at the expense of the quality of the paper (though that is everywhere now). My former outfit fought (and won) against going to a design hub and I am forever grateful to my publisher for doing that. If you don't have a good publisher (or a good editor) I might run.

    On the plus side, however, they understand that the Internet is going to drive future business and have a lot of policies that push digital content. Again, I don't know if they understand how to adapt it to different localities, but their ideas aren't horrible.
     
  8. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Years ago, I was hired at a paper shortly after the paper was bought by Gatehouse. This was February. Powers that be said they had the OK to hire an extra person or two in the newsroom. I'm one of them. I was coming out of a bad situation and needed a fresh start. I was happy.

    I get a call one day on an off day a couple months in from the top editor. My job is gone next week, he says. Maybe we can move you to another position in the newsroom; maybe we can't. Maybe we'll shift you to a bureau 40 miles away, too. I won't know for a few more days.

    So now I'm in limbo.

    I go into work the next day. A reporter who'd just moved a significant distance for a job, who'd been there less time than I was, is escorted out. I'm now told I might have a job a week down the road, but still not sure.

    I keep my job, but my job duties change greatly. After fewer than 90 days.

    Ninety days later, more editors and reporters are laid off. Job duties change again.

    I was there for 11 months and had three different job titles. Some of that wasn't on Gatehouse itself; it was on the people locally making those decisions and clearly not being prepared for contingencies.

    Around here, Gatehouse has filleted their newsroom staffs repeatedly. They've gone beyond bone at this point. It's insane. And they -- er, "New Media" -- keep buying.
     
  9. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

  10. My old paper"s ad director just left for a Gatehouse paper in Oklahoma.
    He's a horrible person to work for.
     
  11. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Wicked, I saw Gatehouse do the same sort of thing to the copy desk.

    Summer 2015, they were told their jobs were being eliminated and everything moved to the hub. But if you want your severance package, you can't quit between now and October when we make the switch. October rolls around, they're told the switch isn't happening until after the first of the year ... and you still can't quit if you want that severance. I thought extending the deal was pretty shitty on their part. They basically held the local deskers hostage to keep them from finding other gigs.
     
  12. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    That kind of stuff is despicable and what we all should remember when you ever think you like your job.
     
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