Friday, May 11, 2018

On GateHouse and Gannett building 'stronger communities'

After GateHouse Media bought the Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado, it said  it would leverage its national resources "to support the community that will enhance quality of life and help create a stronger community." Kevin Slimp, founder of the news industry site State of Newspapers, was skeptical of the claim by the company that owns more U.S. newspapers than any other.

"Please, someone … anyone … who has been in a community where GateHouse has purchased the local paper and helped create a stronger community, please let me know. I just haven’t seen it," Slimp writes.

Same goes for Gannett Co., which posted a sign outside the Sioux Falls Argus Leader in South Dakota that said something about building a stronger community. "I couldn't help but chuckle, thinking, 'They just didn't mention the community is someplace besides Sioux Falls!'" Slimp writes.

Slimp concedes he may be missing something. It's possible GateHouse and Gannett really are building strong communities, but smaller newspaper publishers keep thanking him for sticking up for them, implying that Gannett and GateHouse don't. Slimp recalls a quote from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

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