The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jersey's last great independent paper disappearing into maw of McGannett

Though the nameplate may remain the same, everything else will change.

Plainfield newspaper readers who want to catch a last glimpse of one of New Jersey's great papers -- The Record of Bergen County -- better run out and buy one today.

The fabled, award-winning independent newspaper and its other assets (weeklies, another daily, a magazine and the website) are about to be McGannettized.

A duo of news execs from the Gannett stable have been appointed to run the new purchase. They start on September 6. Their appointment was duly reported in the Record (see here).

A couple of things make the Record one of the last great papers. First, it devotes talent to high level, incisive and thoughtful reporting on issues facing New Jersey every day. Secondly, it stills covers its local communities intensely -- long after other papers such as the Ledger and Gannett's Plainfield-area paper the Courier-News have abandoned consistent local coverage in favor of helicopter reporting.

The Record's columnists are also among the best of the state's remaining handful -- with Charlie Stile being one of the most respected observers of state politics.

Employees will probably have to face being laid off and "rehired" -- a now-standard practice to thin the ranks of the newsrooms and support staff. I hear the headquarters will be moved.

And you can be sure the crisp, clean website of will soon look like the hegdish that is universal among Gannett properties -- from the Orlando Sentinel to the Des Moines Register, from the Arizona Republic to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Gannett corporate no doubt thinks it's comforting to the public to recognize the "brand" whenever a Gannett website is visited anywhere in the country. Just like McDonalds.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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