Monday, March 23, 2009

Northeast Ohio Papers Consolidate

We actually hinted at this weeks ago, but we've finally picked up some of the details on a story that's been buzzing around the local media rumor mill like a supercharged insect.

OMW hears that two co-owned Northeast Ohio newspapers have officially merged their day-to-day operations - as the Lorain County Publishing-owned Medina County Gazette is now being operated out of the company's print mothership, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

Sources tell us that the new arrangement started March 3, with "the majority of The Gazette newsroom" being required to work out of the Chronicle-Telegram's shiny new headquarters in downtown Elyria.

Left behind after 177 years publishing in Medina? We're told that "a handful of sales and classified people", five news staffers and one photographer now use the Gazette building as something of a satellite office...with the news material gathered in Medina sent via the Internet to Elyria.

The Gazette's printing operation moved to Elyria's presses some time ago - which were bought from a St. Louis newspaper.

With the layout operations moved there as well earlier this month, the Gazette looks like a near clone of the Chronicle...a change so visible it prompted this message from the Gazette's publisher on page one earlier this month:

Today, in partnership with our sister newspaper, The Chronicle, we are embarking on another journey. We are taking the best parts of both newspapers and developing a Gazette similar in design to our Lorain County partner, but distinct in what we offer the communities we cover.

There was no word on how that "journey" affected staffers.

This affects radio as well, as OMW recently reported that the papers' sister talk radio station, Elyria's WEOL/930, forced a number of full-time staffers into part-time work - even management. (Maybe if the radio folks could operate a printing press...they could get full time work with the company!)

The answer to our question will be borne out over time, we suppose: Do the Gazette's readers care that the bulk of the local newspaper's operations is now based in Elyria?

Or, indeed, with the sorry state of print journalism, financially, in 2009...are both papers endangered along with just about every other newspaper in America?

In a world where your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) can openly speculate and predict that Northeast Ohio's two largest papers will consolidate at some point (again, just a prediction!) much of a guarantee is there that either the Elyria or Medina papers survive past the next year or two?


74WIXYgrad said...

As I have speculated before, how long will it be that these papers will keep their Monday through Saturday editions.

The Post newspapers now have total coverage of Medina County. They cover local news in their weekly paper with several different editions. I have also noticed that some of the advertisers, such as Hawkins Market in Medina, now advertise exclusively in the Medina Post, with a sign in the store that their circular no longer is delivered in the Gazette.

With stories of statewide and national interest available on the internet soon after it happens, the daily paper is becoming less of a necessity. Local news can be gotten once a week.

YEKIMI said...

The Gazette has no one to blame but themselves. The only time they would cover news in Wadsworth [which, last time I checked, is STILL in Medina County] would be if half the population were killed by some freak accident. Even Wadsworth sports coverage which they were usually pretty good at covering seemed to be lacking this year [except for wrestling]. Doesn't help when one of their employees [yeah, R. N., I'm talking to you] actually slammed the town a few years ago by saying it wasn't worth covering anything in Wadsworth just to satisfy the two persons in town who read the Gazette. Wow, being a former resident of Wadsworth that REALLY makes me want to subscribe to your paper and I'm sure others who saw the comment that might have been thinking about subscribing said "Guess I'll spend my money on a paper that doesn't insult me or where I live" Remember it used to be called the MEDINA COUNTY Gazette for a reason. As for the new layout, it's bad, the Wadsworth High school paper has a better layout and font. I picked the Gazette up a couple of weeks ago and there's a story about something that happened in Elyria on the front page and it had no relevance to anything south of the Lorain county line....unless Elyria mysteriously moved to Medina county somehow. They complain about declining readership, well give me a paper that makes me want to plunk down .35 cents [or .50 cents from one of your machines] EVERY day not once or twice a week.