Just a couple of weeks ago, The Turner Report noted that GateHouse Media, owner of thee Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Pittsburg Morning Sun, and more than 300 other newspapers, had ushered two-thirds of its publishers into early retirements.
The geniuses at GateHouse are back at it again.
The company announced Tuesday that layout of its newspapers will soon be done at two central hubs- smaller papers will send their materials to Boston, while larger papers will be designed out of one central clearing house in Illinois.
The smaller newspapers will transfer the layout process sometime between September and December, according to the GateHouse announcement.
The move is just the latest step in a concerted effort by the largest owner of community newspapers in the United States to remove the "community" aspect from those papers.
The tradition of having a publisher in each community, who is available to discuss the newspaper with its readers and advertisers went by the wayside with GateHouse's decision to have only a handful of publishers, with each being responsible for several publications.
The centralized layout decision will probably cut at least one employee from each of GateHouse's smaller newspapers. The Peoria Journal-Star in Illinois indicated the move would eliminate at least 10 jobs at the Springfield, Ill. newspaper.
While admittedly it has been nearly 13 years since I was an editor at a daily newspaper, I can envision this setup either requiring considerably extra work for GateHouse editors who will have to remain in almost constant contact with designers, or if that is not to happen, it is easy to imagine scores of mistakes being made because of miscommunication between editors and people who are several states away.
What is also undeniable is that GateHouse's newspapers will soon fit into the same cookie-cutter mold as its websites, something that may serve the corporate honchos well as they eliminate employees and celebrate by boosting their annual bonuses, but will do absolutely nothing to foster the kind of sense of community that is necessary for a small town newspaper to succeed.