This week the newspaper industry giants Gannett and GateHouse Media announced that they are merging and will make cuts on the expense side of the ledger, including layoffs, though pledging to avoid big cuts to the newsrooms, according to The Wall Street Journal. The combined company will own 261 daily newspapers and of weeklies in 47 states, publishing about 30 percent of all newspapers circulation in the country. Gannett owns the newspapers in Reno and St. George.
This past Friday, after announcing the company was having liquidity problems — including announcing it cannot make a $124 million payment to its pension plan next year, asking its largest creditor to restructure its debt and taking a $300 million write-down on the value of its newspapers — McClatchy stock fell 66 percent, according to Forbes. The financial situation is so dire the company may face bankruptcy.
GateHouse briefly owned the Las Vegas newspaper in 2015, buying it and 60 other Stephens Media newspapers for $102.5 million and selling the R-J and two weeklies for $140 million to casino owner Sheldon Adelson, according to Politico.
The possible outlook for the newspaper industry is getting even more gloomy. WSJ quotes Pew Research Center as saying newspaper editorial jobs in the U.S. fell from 71,000 in 2008 to 38,000 in 2018.
Despite its pledge otherwise, GateHouse has a reputation for laying off journalists to save money on the bottom line.