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Does Gannett merger signal the death of local journalism?

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Being a little fish in a big pond usually means you get eaten:

The deal would combine the country’s two largest newspaper chains, with more than 260 daily papers, and hundreds more websites and community and weekly papers in 47 states. The new company, to be called Gannett even though New Media is the acquirer, would have a daily print circulation of 8.7 million, dwarfing the next largest chain, McClatchy, with daily circulation of 1.7 million. McClatchy owns The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer.

The companies say the advantages of size and reach will attract more digital advertisers and save expenses by eliminating operations deemed redundant or expendable, helping to offset a two-decade slide in revenue from print advertising and subscriptions, which has imperiled the industry.

Bolding mine, because I'm pretty sure that's the exact same wording Berkshire Hathaway used just before cutting the Greensboro News & Record staff down to a skeleton crew. Admittedly, it's real easy for people like me to grouse about the erosion of investigative journalism, since I don't have to solve the financial problems that brought this about. But I am currently subscribing (paying) for 4 different news outlets, so I'm kinda doing my part. Needless to say, the journalists' unions are not happy about this:

Another round of layoffs at the Greensboro News & Record

So much for Warren Buffet coming to the rescue:

BH Media Group, a division of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A), citing a decline in advertising revenue, has laid off employees at its two newspapers in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, the company said Tuesday.

The company is reducing staff by six employees at the Greensboro News & Record and not filling five vacant positions, while one person was offered a different job. At its sister paper, the Winston-Salem Journal, one person has been let go, four vacant positions have been eliminated and another two people have been offered different positions.

That may not seem like a big deal, since they cut several times that number just a few years ago. But this one hurts maybe even more. Both Doug Clark and Susan Ladd were let go this time, two strong voices of reason in both their (newspaper) blogs and the editorial pages. They won't be replaced, they can't be replaced. And the overall tone of the paper will suffer. I know some people tend to avoid the editorial pages so they won't be pulled one way or another, but the truth is, those columns help us understand the impact of policy changes; what brought them about, and how they may affect us. And we just lost two of the best explainers.

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