Local newspaper giant Gatehouse Media is quietly laying off journalists across the country after a $30 million acquisition

local newspapers

  • GateHouse Media, owned by local newspaper giant New Media
    Investment Group, is quietly laying off journalists across the
    country. 
  • According to social media posts and sources close to the
    layoffs, at least 50 employees have lost their jobs this year at
    papers owned by the company.
  • The layoffs come amid widespread media layoffs across the US,
    which have claimed over 2,200 jobs.

Local newspaper giant GateHouse Media has quietly been laying
off reporters and photographers across its publications, according
to reports, journalists’ testimony online, and sources close to the
layoffs.

GateHouse, which says it owns 145 daily
newspapers, 325 community publications, and over than 555 local
websites in 37 states, seemingly focused cuts on photo departments
and local sports coverage.

The layoffs follow GateHouse’s $30 million
purchase
of 1o local Indiana papers from Schurz Communications
Inc. in late January. Sources close to the layoffs and tweets from
journalists estimated that over 50 employees across at least 14
publications lost their jobs. The acquired papers and other
GateHouse properties were impacted, according to several
journalists who were affected and
local media reports.

GateHouse Media did not immediately reply to request for
comment.

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. 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.

The total number of jobs lost is hard to determine due to
non-disclosure agreements required as part of severance agreements,
according to at least three sources who were affected by the
layoffs.

Journalists affected by the cuts and friends expressed their
frustration online with the cuts.

Gary Higgins, former staff photographer at The Patriot Ledger of
Quincy, Massachusetts, wrote
on Twitter, “Hope you all had a better Friday than me. Terminated
today after 31 years as Staff Photographer at the #PatriotLedger.
Was in New Orleans 17 years ago tonight getting ready to cover that
other Rams Patriots big game. Some Fridays are better than
others!”

Friends of Mike Gay, a photographer formerly of Massachusetts’
Taunton Gazette, wrote in a GoFundMe campaign, “Last
week, Gatehouse Media, the company that owns the Taunton Gazette
had to lay off Mike Gay after being a photographer for the paper
for over 40 years. He was the longest tenured employee in the
Taunton office.” The campaign, which was raising money for new
photo equipment since all of Gay’s was owned by GateHouse, has
raised $10,750 of its $2,500 goal.

Read more:
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employees.

GateHouse has a reputation for rapidly expanding through
acquisition and making deep staffing cuts. Tom Sofield of local
Pennsylvania publication LevittownNow.com wrote that staff
was cut
by 70% at the Bucks County Courier Times after
GateHouse acquired it as part of a $17.5 million deal in 2017. In
2018, the company acquired titles including Florida’s Palm Beach
Post and Palm Beach Daily News.

Since
filing for bankruptcy
in 2013, GateHouse has made numerous
multi-million dollar acquisitions as part of a strategy to digitize
local papers. In September 2018, 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.

The layoffs come amid a dwindling number of local papers in the
digital economy and widespread media layoffs since the beginning of
the year.
More than 2,200 media jobs
have been lost so far this year,
according to a Business Insider calculation.

SEE ALSO: More
than 2,200 people lost their jobs in a media landslide so far this
year


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Local newspaper giant Gatehouse Media is quietly laying off journalists across the country after a million acquisition