Thursday, February 14, 2019

GateHouse lays off at least 60 journalists nationwide

GateHouse Media, the largest owner of newspapers in the U.S., has reportedly laid off at least 60 journalists from at least 18 publications in recent weeks, though the exact figure is hard to determine because of nondisclosure agreements required as part of severance packages. "GateHouse, which says it owns 145 daily newspapers, 325 community publications, and over than 555 local websites in 37 U.S. states, seemingly focused cuts on photo departments and local sports coverage," Benjamin Goggin reports for Business Insider.

The layoffs follow GateHouse's $30 million purchase of Schurz Media's print division in late January, which included 20 local and regional newspapers and several special publications across Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. Some of the layoffs occurred at acquired Schurz papers, according to tweets and local news stories, Goggins reports.

"One source familiar with the layoffs said eight staffers were cut at The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, in Florida. Another, who works in Pennsylvania media, said that 15 to 20 media workers were cut at Pennsylvania's Bucks County Courier Times and the Doylestown Intelligencer and New Jersey's Burlington County Times," Goggins reports. "At least five people were cut at The Beaver County Times in Pennsylvania, according to a source who was close to the publication. Other papers lost one or two staffers, according to tweets and statements by those affected."

Both the acquisition and the layoffs are a familiar one-two punch for GateHouse. "Since filing for bankruptcy in 2013, GateHouse has made numerous multimillion-dollar acquisitions as part of a strategy to digitize local papers," Goggins reports. "In September, GateHouse acquired The Oklahoman, where it laid off 37 staffers, according to Poynter. In April, GateHouse acquired Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal for $16 million."

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