Is this Gannett's business model?
On his Gannett insider blog (oddly called the Gannett Blog
), former editor Jim Hopkins reveals that the company has whacked the publisher's role at its Clarksville newspaper, the very cooly named Leaf-Chronicle.
When publisher Gene Washer retired after 45 years with the paper, the company replaced him with publisher Andrew Oppmann of The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro. Oppmann will now preside over both papers.
In Gannett lingo, the tactic is called "clustering" -- sharing resources between papers in close proximity. It would seem like a smart move in these less-than-stellar economic times, except that Gannett has a tradition of of vigorously containing costs while being not-so-vigorous when it comes to quality. While I've always thought the company subscribed to the Tenement Building Landlord Strategy -- maximizing profits by never fixing anything until the building eventually crumbles -- Hopkins draws the analogy of the funeral home chain that cuts labor until only a skeletal crew remains.
It's hard to say how this will play out in Clarksville. Judging by the comments
, Washer was either a pillar of the community or a shepherd overseeing a really bad paper. Unfortunately, he was probably both.