A Boston Globe article posted last week details the large job cuts and other issues the Herald and GateHouse Media, the company I work for, are currently facing. Both companies have had to lay off tons of employees and are seeing circulation decrease. GateHouse is facing a lot of debt.
But even with the cuts, GateHouse’s losses, companywide, have been eye-popping. GateHouse, which has acquired 416 newspapers nationwide since 1998, reported a $673 million net loss last year and the New York Stock Exchange de-listed its stock due to its plummeting value.
“The last few years have seen GateHouse go from a high-flying IPO darling at $20 a share to virtual obscurity on the penny stock pile,” said Tom Corbett, an equity analyst tracking media for the Chicago-based Morningstar Inc., noting GateHouse’s current trading price of just 8 cents a share. “That’s how bad it has been.”
Of course, the article also discusses how all newspapers are doing poorly right now. The story does an excellent job of explaining why cuts and newspapers closing is so bad for everyone.
Whether it’s a smaller Herald or Globe, cuts – even necessary ones – hurt readers most of all, said Andrew Costello, a former editor of the Herald and now an assistant professor of journalism at Stonehill College in Easton. When newspapers cut back – even if they do so to survive – fewer stories get covered, and the ones that do get covered are often reported with less depth and nuance.
“Reporting is very, very time consuming – as well it should be if you want to have a comprehensive, accurate, well-researched paper,” Costello said. “It’s a function of staff. And the more you limit yourself in terms of staff, the more you limit yourself in areas of coverage. And that’s where the public is suffering.”
In a time when all newspapers face huge changes and the legitimate thought of closing, why are we still being so competitive? Yes, these companies are all competitors, but one going down won’t really help anyone else. It’s a slow domino effect and at the end, all the dominoes go down.