Monday, May 7, 2007

Changes Afoot For The O-D Online?

It's not exactly a surprise, but the sale of the Observer-Dispatch to Gatehouse Media is now finalized.

The sale of the Observer-Dispatch to GateHouse Media Inc. was closed Monday, ending 85 years of ownership by Gannett Co. Inc.

Fairport-based GateHouse purchased the O-D and three other newspapers from Gannett for $410 million. The two companies first announced the deal nearly three weeks ago.

“The newspaper that we’ll produce will only get better,” said O-D President and Publisher Donna M. Donovan after a Monday morning meeting with employees. “And that doesn’t change, regardless of who owns it.”

It will be interesting to see how this impacts their online product. I haven't really poked around their server, since that would be...uh...ethically questionable, but it looks like they're still using the Gannet Online architecture, including remote script execution via the Gannet servers, to manage things. Unless the purchase includes some kind of hosting agreement they'll eventually have to move to a new server. That means a new architecture and content suite, which should keep the online staff busy for a while, and probably means a makeover for the paper's layout. Some of the Gatehouse papers have rather bland websites, but I thought this one actually has a better layout than the existing O-D site.