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Decommissioned Gannett newspaper vending machines. (Photo: Facebook.)

Gannett to stop print editions of N.J. Saturday newspapers

Old media makes adjustments ‘toward a more digital future’

By David Wildstein, January 12 2022 6:44 pm

Several Gannett-owned newspapers in New Jersey will no longer print newspapers on Saturdays, some of their editors announced on Wednesday.

The newspapers – The (Bergen) Record, Courier News, Home News Tribune, Daily Journal, and the Daily Record  – will begin printing six days a week in March, with the last Saturday paper on March 5.  Digital editions of the newspapers will be available to subscribers online.

The latest cost-cutting measure means news that occurs late Thursday won’t make it into the print editions until at least Sunday.

Gannett has faced financial problems– their stock price closed at $5.06 per share, down 68% over the last five years – with massive reductions in the number of reporters.  During a successful bid to unionize in 2021, reporters of the Bergen Record, Daily Record and New Jersey Herald complained that Gannett had turned their newspapers in to “a shadow of their former selves.”

“Under Gannett, The Record has shed hundreds of jobs and steered away from its signature local coverage,” statehouse reporter Dustin Racioppi said in a tweet last year criticizing his employer.

Bergen Record executive editor Dan Sforza disputed the allegation made by members of his own staff.

“We are not wavering in the slightest in our commitment to local news, but we must recognize and adapt to how people consume the news,” Sforza said in a news story under his byline where he quoted himself.  “It’s been decades since we were just a daily, print newspaper.”

Another Gannett executive, Courier News and Home News Tribune news director Joe Martino, used nearly identical talking points.

“Our commitment to local news remains steadfast, but the platforms on which people are consuming news continue to evolve,” Martino said.

A Gannett customer service representative told the New Jersey Globe that the home delivery price will remain the same, with no costs savings to subscribers who will receive one less newspaper every week.

Gannett is also selling off some of their newspapers.

CherryRoad Media, a Parsippany-based technology company, has a deal with Gannett to buy 20 publications, including dailies in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.  None of the acquisitions are in New Jersey.

Gannett had also sold 23 newspapers back to local owners as of last July, according to a Poynter report.

Last year, Gannett skipped print editions of their newspaper for four days over the holiday season for the first time in more than 100 years.

As part of an “expanded holiday edition” spin, they printed newspapers on December 23, but not on the 24th or 25th, and will print on December 30, but not on December 31 or January 1.

No discount was provided to subscribers for receiving four less newspapers, but subscribers were provided with 24/7 access to the USA Today crossword puzzle.

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