By Bruce Rushton
Five news reporters are left at Springfield’s daily newspaper – three times that number were employed when the paper hired me in 2006, one year before GateHouse arrived. This isn’t as bad as in Missouri, where the Columbia Daily Tribune last year was reportedly down to a single reporter to cover a city of more than 100,000 less than two years after GateHouse took over. The Tribune now has three news reporters, with an equal number of scribes assigned to cover sports, but still lacks a government reporter. This is not ideal if you want to be a watchdog.
“Content is our number one priority,” a newspaper executive said in a 2018 interview about GateHouse, which has spent more than $1 billion buying papers since 2014 while treating ones it already owns like birdcage liners. “The people in the industry who are making extremely excessive cuts in the newsroom are not only damaging their own products forever, but they’re damaging us, because everybody gets painted with the same brush.”