Gannett continues to walk away from its weekly newspapers. Writing in Axios Columbus, Tyler Buchanan reports that the country’s largest newspaper chain is closing ThisWeek Community News, a group of weeklies that covers about 16 communities in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. The company said it will concentrate instead on its daily in that region, The Columbus Dispatch, adding:
The decision is part of a broader digital transformation that will allow the company to harness its resources and focus more on its cutting-edge digital news and information efforts and exemplary enterprise reporting on Columbus and Franklin County, including the communities served by ThisWeek.
Gannett owns about 200 daily papers across the country, the largest of which is USA Today. The money-losing chain has been slashing all of its properties, including its dailies, by imposing layoffs, furloughs, retirement freezes and other measures. But it also appears to be getting out of the weekly business altogether.
Gannett has closed a number of weeklies in Eastern Massachusetts over the past several years, and in 2022 took two giant steps toward oblivion by replacing local coverage with regional stories at nearly all of its weeklies and then by closing 19 weeklies and merging another nine into four.
The chain’s decimation of community journalism in Massachusetts has sparked the rise of independent start-ups, and I hope the same happens in the Columbus suburbs.