Gannett, Problem or Solution?

After reading a recent article in the NY Times titled, “Why Not Occupy Newsrooms”, the Occupy Muncie movement may want to consider relocating to the grounds at the Gannett owned StarPress. While local investigative journalism has suffered, and the paper looks for shortcuts, their cost slashing paid off for their recently departed CEO. According to the writer David Carr:

The week before the editorial ran, Craig A. Dubow resigned as Gannett’s chief executive. His short six-year tenure was, by most accounts, a disaster. Gannett’s stock price declined to about $10 a share from a high of $75 the day after he took over; the number of employees at Gannett plummeted to 32,000 from about 52,000, resulting in a remarkable diminution in journalistic boots on the ground at the 82 newspapers the company owns.

Never a standout in journalism performance, the company strip-mined its newspapers in search of earnings, leaving many communities with far less original, serious reporting.

Given that legacy, it was about time Mr. Dubow was shown the door, right? Not in the current world we live in. Not only did Mr. Dubow retire under his own power because of health reasons, he got a mash note from Marjorie Magner, a member of Gannett’s board, who said without irony that “Craig championed our consumers and their ever-changing needs for news and information.”

But the board gave him far more than undeserved plaudits. Mr. Dubow walked out the door with just under $37.1 million in retirement, health and disability benefits. That comes on top of a combined $16 million in salary and bonuses in the last two years.

As the occupiers have set up shop at the Delaware County Government offices in Downtown Muncie, they may want to reconsider a two block journey south along High Street, and set up camp on the lawn outside The StarPress rented facility protesting outrageous salaries and perks for corporate CEO’s. These perks come while the communities in which this media giant operates suffers with poor news coverage, and confuses readers by placing opinion writers in columns generally reserved for investigative reporters.

Based on these outrageous perks for poor performance, Occupy Muncie may expand their group’s numbers by marching and protesting against the Gannett owned StarPress. Is it any wonder why the Occupy movement has been treated so harshly by many conservative slanted newspapers? Read more at NYTimes.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.


  1. Connect the dots. Sure, Gannett is a big, nasty corporation, but simply pointing out that the Star Press is Gannett owned does not prove it is evil. And after all, it is not surprising that USA Today’s chief rival for the title of “America’s Newspaper” is negative toward the competition. Speaking of criticizing the competition . . .
    I can’t make the link between the occasional excesses of Walker and Roysdon and the bonuses paid to Gannett executives. Remember, the Star Press, Indy Star, and the other Central Newspaper holdings were a hell of a lot more conservative when the Pulliam family owned them!
    All that said, I strongly agree that this town could do with more investigative journalism. Thanks for your efforts.

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