By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The shrinking north

And no, I’m not referring to the polar ice caps.

Jay Fitzgerald reports in today’s Boston Herald that CNHI — the Alabama-based newspaper chain that scooped up the Eagle-Tribune papers last year — is suspected of retaliating against employees who were involved in a failed union organizing campaign by sticking them in far-flung bureaus or saddling them with night shifts. A company official denies all.

The papers involved are the Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence (well, North Andover), the Salem News, the Gloucester Daily Times and the Daily News of Newburyport.

Regardless of what happened — and I hope someone gets to the bottom of this — it’s sad to ponder the decline of the newspaper scene north of Boston over the past decade.

A dozen or so years ago, the region was dominated by three independently owned papers: the Eagle-Tribune, the Salem News (then the Salem Evening News) and the Sun of Lowell. Ottaway, a division of Dow Jones, owned three smaller dailies: the Beverly-Peabody Times and the Gloucester and Newburyport papers.

Today, those six papers have become five (the Beverly-Peabody Times was merged into the Salem News), and the three local owners have all given way to out-of-state corporations.

And it could get worse. Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell has his flagship tabloid and Community Newspaper Co. subsidiary on the block, which could result in out-of-town ownership for another 100 or so papers. Among those rumored to be interested: CNHI.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    This was to be expected. That Alabama group looked like bad news from the outset. Not that I like unions that much or want them to control yet another business.But these hicks are not about preserving and maintaining and bettering but simply milking and altering to bring the papers closer to their dishonest brand of Journalism.That’s what you get for having a cowardly family trying to cash out by selling off the group after so many years. They saw the decline in print trends and tried to get their money now and the heck with all else.You think Pat wouldn’t cash if he found a willing buyer?Where are the Fueurstein-types when you need them?N.

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