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

BBJ: Henry is close to selling Worcester paper

The indispensable Boston Business Journal reports that John Henry may be close to selling the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, the “other” newspaper he acquired when he purchased The Boston Globe.

Craig Douglas writes that the T&G may end up in the hands of GateHouse Media, which recently implemented cuts at its two newest Massachusetts properties, the Cape Cod Times and The Standard-Times of New Bedford.

I’d like to think that Henry would sell to local owners if he could find any. The T&G may be a tough acquisition at this point, and GateHouse may be among the few prospective buyers willing to take it on.

My hope is that GateHouse, which is going through a structured bankruptcy aimed at getting $1.2 billion in debt off its back, will prove to be a better steward of the T&G than we’ve come to expect.

GateHouse’s recent move at its weekly papers in Massachusetts — reallocating resources from weaker to stronger papers rather than engaging in out-and-out cuts — offers some reason for optimism.

Update: Henry has what sounds like good news, according to the T&G — no sale before 2014, plus he’s hoping for a local buyer.

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  1. Winston Wood

    I’d say your hopes are misplaced. My guess — and it’s only a guess, based on long observation of the predatory practices of investment firms buying newspapers they want to profit from — is that if GateHouse is in talks to buy the T&G, it wants to do so at a firesale price. The paper would give it critical mass and press capacity to print its other papers around the state. T&G copy could be used to fill out news holes in the the papers too. If the T&G’s building is part of the deal, I expect GateHouse would sell that to recoup some of the purchase price. But actually improve the paper? It hasn’t happened with a GateHouse paper yet and I doubt the company would do anything differently here. to recoup some of the

  2. Victor DeRubeis

    What Winston said. There is no evidence that I’m aware of that GateHouse has done anything to improve the properties it owns and instead only cuts expenses so its executives can reap huge bonuses. I’ve linked it before, and I’ll link it again:

  3. Laurence Kranich

    Poor Worcester. My hometown, second largest city in New England. Nobody believes it, look it up. No TV stations. Their biggest radio station fled to Boston long ago, their “news station” gets most of its news from some ClearChannel out-of-town hub. This city stubbornly refuses to be a suburb of Boston, and Boston TV ignores Worcester unless there’s some fierce storm in the hills. The T&G has been the only real voice of Worcester for a couple of decades. Robert Stoddard, the local industrialist who owned the T&G for most of the 1900’s, may have been a raving John Birch Society idealogue, but he’s a journalistic saint compared to GateHouse. GateHouse, the Countrywide Mortgage Company of newspapers. Sad, sad, sad.

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