Newspaper merger could shake up industry with strong Rochester roots

Business

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An historic move in the newspaper industry; an industry with roots in Rochester.

On Monday, Pittsford-based Gatehouse Media announced it is merging with Gannett, the company that owns the Democrat & Chronicle.

It’s not clear whether the merger between will mean a loss of jobs. No one from the D&C or Gatehouse would comment, but this move will shake up the industry.

The Gannett company is one of the largest newspaper publishers in the country and its history began in Rochester. It was founded in 1923 and over the decades published two flagship newspapers, the Democrat & Chronicle, and the Times-Union. Its founder, Frank Gannett, was buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester.

By 1986 it was a national chain and moved its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia. But the decline of newspapers eventually took its toll and this merger is designed to reshape the company.

“This has been a long time coming,” said D&C guest columnist Jim Memmott. “Nevertheless this is the closing of a door and the end of a book, and the beginning of a new one.”

Under the deal, Gatehouse will combine with Gannett in a deal worth $1.38 billion. The combined company will be based out of Washington, D.C. It will keep the Gannett name and continue to publish newspapers. But the company is expected to be re-shaped for the digital era.

In Rochester, the Democrat & Chronicle has struggled with layoffs and job cuts for more than a decade and it’s not known whether more cuts are on the way.

The merger between Gatehouse and Gannett is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

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