The Pueblo Chieftain, now Colorado’s oldest daily newspaper and owned by Gannett Publishing Company, is shutting down its Colorado printing plant in Pueblo. The last paper will roll off its own presses in Pueblo on August 13.
The paper will now print far north of this southern Colorado city and will be trucked down to Pueblo on a daily basis. No word yet as To what might happen in bad weather, but surely coverage of late-breaking news, and early distribution could suffer.
Both the Pueblo Chieftain’s labor union and the Colorado Newspaper Guild have slammed the decision, with the Guild saying it “believes Gannett’s decision will further degrade the newspaper’s reputation in the community.”
The Pueblo Chieftain newsroom has been devastated over the recent years by cuts, but this latest gut punch is not supposed to hit the newsroom. A good thing: the respected newsroom has gone from 30 reporters just a few years ago, down to five news reporters, one sports reporter, and one photographer — to cover a city of more than 100,000, within a county of 170,000.
According to comments from the Denver Newspaper Guild: Gannett has continued to buy up newspaper properties around the country to scrape off quick cash from real estate sales.
In May 2018, the Pueblo Chieftain was sold to GateHouse Media. In November 2019, New Media Investment Group, the successor to GateHouse Media, acquired newspaper publisher Gannett. The two companies merged and will operate under the Gannett brand. The Pueblo Chieftain is joining dozens of other [newspaper] properties around the country whose liquid assets are being sold off. Gannett merged with GateHouse in 2019, making it the largest media consolidator in the country. Since that time, half of all of the jobs across the company have been cut.
As corporate ownership continues its buying frenzy, the situation brings fresh questions, not just about what constitutes locally-owned news media, but what is becoming of independent, fearless, fact-based news coverage. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, especially when it comes to covering local communities, and local governments, and shining a light on critical community issues.
Ark Valley Voice understands why the media consolidators are targeting the newsrooms. Those in green eyeshades wielding their red pencils are often going after newsrooms, not understanding that the reputation and ethics of a true bastion of journalism is built on our people, which means that newsrooms have always been cost centers, not revenue centers.
Newsrooms are as good as the fearless, curious, and independent reporters who report on our community. We ask tough questions, we dig down to the facts. We live here, and we hold governments accountable day after day.
For the record, as our readers know, the AVV mission has always been to give truth a voice and we stand by that more than ever since becoming a nonprofit news member of the Institute for Nonprofit News last year. We hope the community believes in us because we believe in you.