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Uncertain future looms as Gannett, GateHouse merger takes another step forward on Monday

Industry experts closely watching newspaper merger

A journalist for 32 years, Linda Quinlan has watched the evolution of print media.

“There’s just been a mass exodus of reporters from cities all over the country – not just Rochester,” Quinlan said.

As a reporter for the locally-owned Messenger Post Newspapers, she covered every aspects of news in her assigned community. She was part of a chain that operated a daily paper in Ontario County and weekly newspapers in Monroe County communities.

But, in the early 2000s, the chain was bought out by GateHouse Media, which moved its headquarters to Perinton.

Change came shortly thereafter.

“Not at first, but a gradual reduction in the work force and we had already seen some before the company sold,” she said.

Now, with news of a merger between GateHouse and Gannett Co., those who have ties to the newspaper industry are interested to see what implications could be felt locally.

“I think that it means there won’t be much local coverage,” Quinlan said. “There may be in the beginning, but I think it will gradually be less and less.”

Gannett was started in Rochester and owns Rochester daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle.

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GateHouse Media enters into agreement to acquire Gannett, forming largest U.S. publishing company

New Media Investment Group Inc., the public parent company of GateHouse Media, the owner of this newspaper, has signed an agreement to acquire Gannett Co. Inc. Following closing, both the public and operating companies will be called Gannett. Mike Reed, Chairman and CEO of New Media, will serve as Chairman and CEO of the combined public company.

This ground-breaking acquisition will create the largest local news publishing organization in the country and ushers in a new era of American journalism. This transaction is subject to regulatory review, which is anticipated to take several months.

GateHouse, based in Pittsford, N.Y., publishes 154 daily newspapers with legacies of in-depth, hyperlocal news in large, mid-size and smaller markets. GateHouse papers include the Austin American-Statesman, Columbus Dispatch, Providence Journal and Savannah Morning News.

Gannett, based in McLean, V.A., has a long history as publisher of USA TODAY and more than 100 local brands, including The Arizona Republic, the Detroit Free Press and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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