Saturday, June 4, 2022

Gannett Slashes Editorial Pages

JP Trostle from the AAEC website.

Word has trickled down from Gannett (née GatehouseMedia) that, beginning June 1, they will be stripping out the daily editorial/opinion section in the print editions of all their daily papers. 

Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the USA as measured by total daily circulation, announced their Op/Ed pages will now only appear in print on Wednesdays and Sundays. 

While some editors at the affected newspapers spun this as a good and necessary move, noting that local editorials and letters to the editor could still be found online, Mary Kelli Palka at the Florida Times-Union flatly wrote that content was being slashed: “We also no longer have access to syndicated content, though we had stopped running many syndicated columns years ago. 

But it does mean we’re losing syndicated cartoons. This has all made us rethink our editorial pages.”

Cartoonists were swift to respond.

“Bad news for editorial cartoonists for sure, as well as really horrible news for an informed citizenry in the communities these papers are supposed to serve,” wrote Jimmy Margulies, the award-winning political cartoonist who spent more than two decades on the staff of The Record in northern New Jersey, one of the papers hit by the cuts.

Some cartoonists, posting on a private message board for AAEC members, said their freelance work in Gannett-owned papers would be affected. 

(Gannett has not had a full-time staff cartoonist since laying off Mike Thompson from USA Today last year.)

One cartoonist, speaking on background about the decision, said “It’s a cowardly and wholly expected move. 

Even for those one or two days a week, I’ve been asked to draw ‘unifying’ rather than ‘divisive’ cartoons. In other words, they want Hallmark cards.”

Another syndicated cartoonist, whose local newspaper was hit by Gannett’s big change, vented, “What I wanna know is, what does a newspaper become without an editorial page? #pennysaver.”

Gannett, whose newspapers once had dozens of staff cartoonists, including a number of Pulitzer Prize-winners, was absorbed by Gatehouse Media in 2019, who bought the chain for its brand name recognition.


"Gannett is scuttling daily editorial pages at its regional papers" on Poynter.

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