Thursday, June 01, 2017

GateHouse Media promotion highlights few reporters they have left

Over the past few years, readers have watched as GateHouse Media has stripped down their newspapers and taken jobs out of local communities.

The most recent actions taken by the company- reducing the Carthage Press to one edition per week, cutting the Neosho Daily News to two editions, and the Pittsburg Morning Sun to five, are only the latest examples of how they have devalued what should be leading businesses in the community.

I have written before of how GateHouse and its previous incarnation, Liberty Group Publishing, took a thriving newspaper, the Carthage Press, and left it in a shambles.

The only thing that has kept that newspaper alive over the past few years has been the hard work of Managing Editor John Hacker and a threadbare staff that now includes only one reporter, Sports Editor Brennan Stebbins.

The company long ago stopped sending out advertising sales people and its circulation department is non-existent.

The only thing GateHouse Media knows how to do is cut.

The company's entire business model is based on buying more and more newspapers (it owns hundreds, including a couple of dozen in Missouri) and then cutting staff, selling off equipment, and when the newspapers are still not making money, they do the only thing they know how to do- cut more.

That business model led to bankruptcy a few years ago and does not appear to be working any better now.

Instead of trying something innovative, improving their product, for instance, GateHouse Media is launching a media campaign to promote its newspapers.

The campaign, "Newsroom Hero," begins next week and will profile the editors and reporters at GateHouse, the few of them that remain, and show how involved they are in their communities. After all, it doesn't cost as much to slap their names and photos on ads as it would to provide them with the resources they need to improve their newspapers.

GateHouse's two-million-dollar-a-year CEO Kirk Davis (he has a $2.2 million golden parachute if he ever gets fired), says, "We are extremely proud of our people and the important role they play inside the newsroom and in their communities."

That is probably why he has downsized so many of them, including the recent removal of reporter Rebecca Haines from the Press.

The news release GateHouse issued for its latest promotion is printed below:

GateHouse Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States, today announced the launch of a new brand campaign, “Newsroom Hero”. The campaign, which is the first in the company’s history, highlights GateHouse Media’s deep community connections and commitment to serving as a trusted source of local, award-winning news.

“We are extremely proud of our people and the important role they play inside the newsroom and in their communities,” said Kirk Davis, Chief Executive Officer, GateHouse Media. “This campaign reinforces the strong and cherished relationship we have with our readers and gives them a peek into how deep our local roots go. This campaign celebrates the hundreds of ‘Newsroom Heroes’ working to make an impact as journalists and as part of the fabric of their communities.”The “Newsroom Hero” campaign profiles GateHouse Media journalists and shows the positive impact they make in their communities not only as journalists but as parents, coaches and volunteers. Running across GateHouse’s print, digital, social media and outdoor platforms, the campaign reaches nearly 23 million weekly readers - including 35 million monthly digital visitors - across 36 states and 535 markets.

The campaign debuts the week of June 4th in 130 daily GateHouse newspapers. Following the initial blitz, GateHouse’s 314 weekly newspapers and extensive digital and social platforms will participate in the campaign. The initiative celebrates GateHouse Media’s people and demonstrates its ability to launch large advertising and marketing campaigns across its growing footprint.

This summer, GateHouse will launch an essay contest for high school students, tied to themes of the “Newsroom Hero” campaign. Winning essays will be featured across the company’s newspapers and websites and student winners will receive cash prizes toward college tuition.

“Our readers turn to us for reliable, compelling content that is both relevant to them and truly impacts their communities. The active, positive role we play in hundreds of communities enables us to deliver the local, trusted content that matters most. We are continuing to invest in new platforms and digital products to deliver the highest quality content to our readers and business partners,” added Davis.

The campaign was designed in-house by the GateHouse Marketing and Creative Solutions team in close collaboration with GateHouse editors. To view the campaign, please visit:


Anonymous said...

I would wager the kids get stiffed on that scholarship cash.

Anonymous said...

How would you fix the print newspapers?

Anonymous said...

Check out who is giving the keynote address at the National Newspaper Association convention in Tulsa in October.

Steve Holmes said...

I'm with 9:36, Randy. Print newspapers all over the country are hurting. Even the largest have laid off staff. What would you do to heal the industry?

I.P. Freeley said...

The answer is bigger bonuses for all the brilliant executives who work so hard valiantly trying to keep their sinking ships afloat!

Anonymous said...

So what, other than the fact you are an idiot, prevents you from publishing your own newspaper and then selling it to Gatehouse?

Harvey Hutchinson said...

It must be bad; the dude in the picture can't even afford razor blades

Harvey Hutchinson 303-522-6622 voice&text

Rob Tucker said...

I spent over a decade in the newspaper industry.

You lower the price of recruitment ads dramatically to gain traction in the industry. However, this may be too late as the big dogs have killed recruitment advertising with $300/inch and higher rates. Insane and pushed the market online.

You create more community involvement. There is still a generation or two left that care about the paper and would support it if they actually supported the community.

You break away from the big dogs, put local writers to work and again - support the community that supports you.

Newspapers went from being the main source, and then they added internet components - and in the process of making sure everyone knew how "great" the internet components were, they undersold the core product.

The only way you get that back is to put the print version in more hands and - even if it's cheaper to go online - rely on the old ink.

Problem is, most (all?) paper companies have already sold their souls to the devil and are past the point of no return.