GateHouse Media already owns the Canandaigua Daily Messenger and the suburban Post papers. Its business-to-business division, Bridgetower Media, owns the Rochester Business Journal and The Daily Record. Soon, the Democrat & Chronicle could be a GateHouse paper, too.
GateHouse and Gannett — the D&C's owner — are in merger talks, and reports from the Wall Street Journal and others say GateHouse would likely swallow up Gannett, the larger of the two companies.
In an article on the Poynter Institute website, Rick Edmonds says the merger would provide the companies with savings and potential to increase revenue from national ads. He writes that he doesn't expect deep cuts to newsroom staffing, though some on the business side at Gannett may lose their jobs due to redundancies.
GateHouse has bought papers on a near constant basis and has a reputation for consolidating operations where possible and shedding staff in the process. It merged some operations at the RBJ and Daily Record after it acquired up the RBJ in 2016.
Newspaper Guild 17, the union representing D&C journalists, says in a statement that it's "eager to learn more details of this proposal and how it will impact us locally."
But the statement also notes that the D&C newsroom has endured several rounds of layoffs and is half the size it was five years ago. In 2011, the Guild represented 86 newsroom employees — half of which were reporters and a dozen of which were photographers — but by the end of layoffs and buyouts in 2017, the Guild represented 32 newsroom journalists.
"Most of the journalists who lost their jobs as a result of those actions were Guild members," says the union's statement on the possible merger. "We welcome any change that helps preserve the remaining jobs and puts our local operation on a more solid footing for the future. Those of us who remain are committed to serving our community, holding public officials accountable, and telling the stories that make a difference in the lives of our readers."