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

GateHouse financial outlook dims

While we’re talking about GateHouse Media, you might be interested in knowing that the bad financial news continues. The trade publication Editor & Publisher reports that the company’s stock price is flirting with the $1 mark, which could trigger a series of unfortunate events.

Stock analyst Tom Corbett of Morningstar is quoted as writing that the company’s shares “could be worthless,” and that it is conceivable that “its debt could become due immediately, resulting in a possible liquidation scenario.”

Much as company officials might not want to hear it, Corbett’s dire report fits with a recent post on the blog, which predicted that the Rochester, N.Y.-based chain — which owns some 100 newspapers in Eastern Massachusetts — could be broken up or worse by the end of the year.

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Old ethics and new media (V)


Old ethics and new media (VI)


  1. Anonymous

    I get the Metrowest News, one of the Gatehouse papers, based in Framingham. Sometimes, they’ll have a 6-page section of the newspaper (out of 4 sections) and have no advertising in that section. Sometimes they’ll have just legal notices and a car dealer ad. Sundays have more ads, but I was shocked to see no ads in a news section of a paper that has about 30 munis in its coverage area.

  2. John Gatti Jr

    Enough is Enough…the state of newspaper journalism and publishing is in a crisis in Massachusetts.This news that many have been following is another nail on the coffin.Will you media critics with acess do a seminar or a cohesive series for we the readers and inform the general public of a crisis of our press freedoms.As someone dependent on investigative journalism to help conscientious persons who want to report waste, fraud, and abuse, this is another announcement that will curb our efforts.

  3. Anonymous

    While the economy is slumping, and newspaper companies across the country are struggling to make money and figure out how to survive in the new order, GateHouse management and Fortress Investment Group must take responsibility for the damage they inflicted after purchasing Community Newspaper Company in 2006. GateHouse has continued to add more newspapers to its stable while not putting enough resources into existing publications. In fact, the company purchased a number of papers last November immediately after laying off 150 people. Hiring freezes have resulted in staff being cut back to ridiculous levels, and the drop in quality has been noticed by readers. Although GateHouse is trying to do innovative things with social networking, blogs and video how much revenue do those generate? The core product is still community news, and to effectively gather that news, a company can’t decimiate its staff. They have lost many good people who have left on their own volition or been laid off, and they have drained the morale of many others. Hopefully a positive change will come for the people who work at GateHouse and for the readers before it’s too late.

  4. Anonymous

    Today, on the front page of The Taunton Call, a Gatehouse Media publication, there was publisher’s note stating that it was the LAST Taunton Call.It was also posted online:…And so it begins…

  5. Anonymous

    Gatehouse Media, just a mini-Me example of the havoc wrecked by Sam Zell and other non-media types thinking they can pay too much, do too little, and still turn a profit.

  6. Anonymous

    It wasn’t just the Taunton Call, GateHouse also closed the Avon Messenger at the same time. What puzzled us most about the closing of the Call was the fact that the Call’s only reporter had been covering Taunton for nearly 10 years and she did a very thorough job. She was switched over to cover Bridgewater and will start her relationships from scratch in a small town filled with complex issues and suspicious selectman. Not to mention the Editor of the three, excuse me two, Call newspapers has been covering Taunton for more than 15 years. So this little money saving venture managed to throw away more than 25 years of institutional knowledge, trust and a quality product that was well respected within the community. But there is the Daily Gazette GH is now pushing, who is so under staffed that it’s comical, maybe that’s why there is a For Sale sign on their building.But hey, if you listen to to all the GH corporate mouthpieces that march around from meeting to meeting, reporters shooting low-quality video is what is going to save all of our jobs. I think the ad reps should go to Dramamine for sponsorship of the sites since all that shaky, unedited video is bound to make somebody motion sick, or just sick to their stomachs and it would be the perfect product placement. Plus the thinking that updating the Web sites with about as much crap as one person covering seven towns can produce in a day since there isn’t enough money to hire adequate staff or even freelancers to produce content is going to get the numbers up. It is probably where the often heard phrase of “Good enough for GateHouse” originated from.The problem most of us have is that it’s no longer about quality , its about hits. Avon definitely didn’t have the numbers to support keeping a paper in that town and surprise, surprise it was one of the first to go. This, coupled with GateHouse recently announcing the freezing of their employees’ wages and freezing of all hiring in understaffed newsroom all over the state has a lot of journalists looking for the nearest lifeboat on this sinking ship.

  7. Ron Newman

    So why doesn’t GateHouse close the redundant Cambridge Tab? There is no need for two weekly newspapers in one city published by the same company.

  8. Anonymous

    The anon poster at 8:49 a.m. really said I all wanted to say. I’m a GHM employee and everything they said is true. Not to mention the fact they have less people doing more work. I have an editor who couldn’t care if I lived or died – forget about making my copy better. He doesn’t even edit it!We get .27 a mile for reimbursement. How crazy is that? In one month I put well over 300 miles on my car. I was excited to be a journalist at first but now I just feel it is a dead end career with no potential for me to earn a livable wage.

  9. Anonymous

    This got little notice a few months back, but Gatehouse Media put out a desperate call for ideas from employees, asking for new ways to make money.Now, what made this so strange was the prize – $50 million (yes, $50 MILLION) would go to the person with the money making idea, assuming of course, the idea made so much $$$ that GHM could burn that on a prize.There was even a PDF sent out, designed to look like the gameshow “Deal or No Deal.” Gatehouse folks can vouch for it, it was e-mailed to everyone. At the time, it looked desperate and foolish here. Now we’re expecting to be waiting tables by years end.

  10. Anonymous

    actually, anon@10:49, you’re a bit off. they are soliciting moeny-savings ideas and anything that saves the company $50mil will get $1mil.

  11. Anonymous

    It was NOT a $50 million prize for the best idea. It was a $1 million prize for the best idea that brought in $50 million in NEW revenue. In other words, if you had one great idea that boosted retail advertising or some other area with an overall gain of $50 million in NEW money, you got a $1M prize.

  12. Doug

    Howard Owens, a Gatehouse Media executive, wrote the following sentence on his blog:On the web, frequency and quantity (much more so than quality or depth) is what drives page views.If that statement reflects Gatehouse’s approach to journalism — shoving quality aside and focusing instead on page views & ‘social media’ — then is it any wonder the company is on the edge of disaster?Doug ShugartsBrooklinereader of the Brookline Tab

  13. Anonymous

    Any time a local entity gets gobbled up by a far away, far flung conglomerate, you can be reasonably certain that the result will be exactly as we are seeing now with Gatehouse. Distant managers, beholden only to maintaining a bottom line, only see salaries in the effect they have on cost, not the value they bring to the product.

  14. Anonymous

    We’re down to quantity, not quality at our Gatehouse paper. Really very sad, actually.

  15. Anonymous

    We’re at the point where our suppliers don’t want to deal with the slow pay from GateHouse. We are locked into our low wages. We have laid off all but just enough people to get the paper out. The quality of our product has suffered. GateHouse needs to take care of their own. They complain about us not being profitable enough, but they take away any means we have of becoming so. Moral simple does not exist with poor pay and poor treatment. Please! Default! Let some other buyer who cares about their people and product take over.

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