about  /   archives  /   contact  /   subscribe  /   twitter    
Share this entry
Make this entry better

What are we missing? Is there a key link we skipped, or a part of the story we got wrong?

Let us know — we’re counting on you to help Encyclo get better.

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Key links:
Primary website:
gannett.com
Primary Twitter:
@gannett

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Gannett is the United States’ largest media company and newspaper publisher.

Gannett is a publicly traded company based in McLean, Va., the site of USA Today, its flagship paper and by far its largest publication. Gannett owns more than 80 daily newspapers in the United States, including the Arizona Republic, Indianapolis Star, Detroit Free Press, Tennessean, Des Moines Register, and Louisville Courier-Journal. Its papers had a combined weekday circulation of 4.9 million as of 2012. It also owns 42 television stations and several other advertising and media holdings. It bought 20 of those stations when it acquired Belo in 2013.

In August 2014, Gannett announced plans to split its newspaper and broadcast holdings in mid-2015, with the broadcast division taking on the company’s debt and also including CareerBuilder and Cars.com, the latter of which it bought out for $1.8 billion.

Gannett was founded in 1923 in Rochester, N.Y., by newspaper owner Frank Gannett. Over the next several decades, Gannett steadily acquired newspapers and broadcast stations, with its most recent major purchase in 2000.

For several decades, Gannett has been known as being among the leaner, more corporate-driven American newspaper publishers. The company has run its papers with high profit margins, even during lean economic times. During the late 2000s, Gannett laid off thousands of newspaper employees during a series of companywide cuts. Its employment peaked in 2005 and has fallen off every year since then, including hundreds of job cuts in 2013. The company has been criticized for giving executives large bonuses as they made those cuts. In 2012, its pension plan was reportedly underfunded by nearly $1 billion.

Gannett’s financial situation bottomed out in 2009, as its cost-cutting could not sustain its historically high profit margins. Gannett’s profit continued to drop slightly in early 2010, though its income increased.

Gannett has invested in or bought several digital properties since 2005, including the online ad firm PointRoll, social media ad firm BLiNQ, online shopping circular ShopLocal, livestreaming video service Mogulus, local entertainment network Metromix, sports blog The Big Lead, and sports aggregation site Quickish. In 2010, Gannett launched GannettLocal, a business consultation firm focused on online marketing. Gannett has an advertising agreement with Yahoo covering all of its publishing and broadcast properties.

In 2012, Gannett launched a national news desk to provide content for its local properties. It restructured several of its papers to centralize editing, design, and production processes in 2014. It also began standardizing its sites’ design based on that of USA Today in 2013 and began inserting USA Today content into its other papers the next year.

Paywall

Gannett implemented paywalls across all of its newspaper sites in 2012 and early 2013. The company told investors in February 2012 that the paywall would be a metered model and would cover all of its newspaper websites except USA Today.

The paper was experimenting with paywalls at a handful of papers in early 2012. By June 2012, it had instituted paywalls just more than half of its papers and expected the plan to bring in $100 million in additional operating profit by the end of the year. By the end of the third and fourth quarters of 2012, Gannett announced significant gains in circulation revenue thanks to the paywalls at 71 of its 80 papers.

By the end of 2013, after Gannett’s paywalls had been fully rolled out, the company’s circulation revenue had flatlined, prompting concerns about the long-term viability of its paywall model.

The Information Center

In 2006, Gannett launched a wide-ranging overhaul of its news outlets called The Information Center. The project marked a companywide shift into digital journalism, emphasizing local news, multimedia journalism and citizen-driven media efforts.

The initiative included the development of multimedia-oriented, office-less “mobile journalists,” hyperlocal and niche websites, citizen-led crowdsourcing projects, round-the-clock news, and an online video network.

Reaction to the project has been somewhat mixed: It initially received strong praise from numerous sources, but some were skeptical. Since the project has been implemented, it occasionally has been criticized for poor execution and misplaced focus.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Nov. 21, 2019 / Laura Hazard Owen
“Where there’s no competition, there’s no pressure to do better”: Local news is suffering even in areas where newspapers remain — The local news report that PEN America released this week is packed with the grim statistics you’ve seen elsewhere, including all over Nieman Lab — The U.S. has lost more than 1,800 local news outlets since 2004...
Nov. 20, 2019 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: By selling to America’s worst newspaper owners, Michael Ferro ushers the vultures into Tribune — Is it the apocalypse, or just an unreasonable facsimile? In a week of newspaper industry drama — GateHouse’s expected takeover of Gannett and McClatchy’s unexpected move in the direction of bankruptcy — w...
Nov. 14, 2019 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: With its merger approved, the new Gannett readies the cost-cutting knife — You think $300 million in costs cut is a big number? Try $400 million. Or more than $400 million. Those are the internal numbers in the air as America’s two largest newspaper chains, Gannett and GateHouse, try to l...
Oct. 9, 2019 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: The Gannett–GateHouse merger is really happening, but expect to see more than 10% of jobs cut off the top — The megamerger is really happening. Expect the new Gannett — the brand that will survive that chain’s acquisition by GateHouse Media — to officially take wobbly flight soon, perhaps around Thanksgiving. Both co...
Aug. 9, 2019 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: The perils — and promises — of New Gannett — This story was updated Friday afternoon with the news that Alden Global has taken a stake in the new Gannett. There’s the megamerger, and then there are the numbers: $1.8 billion, 11.5 percent interest, 5 years, $300 m...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: August 14, 2014.
Make this entry better
How could this entry improve? What's missing, unclear, or wrong?
Name (optional)
Email (optional)
Explore: ProPublica
ProPublica logo

ProPublica is a prominent American nonprofit news organization that produces investigative journalism. ProPublica was founded by former Wall Street Journal editor Paul Steiger and San Francisco-area billionaires Herbert and Marion Sandler in 2007 and launched to much attention shortly thereafter. It is based in New York and had 43 full-time employees as of 2012. Much…

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
Some rights reserved. Copyright information »