Friday, July 18, 2008

Storming The Gatehouse

The increasingly dire Gatehouse Media situation isn't just bad news, no pun intended, for the Mohawk Valley. If the company does go under it's going to have a huge impact at newspapers across the nation, as this blogger in Peoria points out:

GateHouse also announced today that they’re shuttering two Massachusetts weekly newspapers: The Taunton Call and The Avon Messenger. In both cases, GateHouse also owns a daily paper in the same market. And in both cases, GateHouse uses the same boilerplate to explain its decision to mothball the weekly:

…we have continued to analyze the best possible way to provide you with the most comprehensive local news in [Taunton/Avon]. We believe that mission will be accomplished by focusing our energies on our daily publication and through the most dynamic local Web sites possible.

If that’s any indication of their improvement strategy, look out Peoria Times-Observer.

Make no mistake, I'm not celebrating the potential demise of the Observer-Dispatch. Losing the only daily paper left would be a huge blow to the city of Utica, despite everyone's grumbling about the questionable value of the paper's content. On the other hand, if Gatehouse actually defaults on it's billion dollar debt I'm hard-pressed to imagine anyone that would buy the O-D in today's media environment. Even if a buyer can be found it's likely the new owners would be forced to make significant manpower cuts just to keep the paper afloat.