ProJo Pulls Gregg from State House - What is GateHouse Thinking?
Thursday, August 04, 2016
The move comes after long-time editorial writer M.J. Andersen was laid off at the end of July.
So just what is the ProJo’s — and owner GateHouse’s — strategy?
“I can’t speak to a management decision, I have no idea what prompted this,” said Providence Newspaper Guild President and ProJo reporter John Hill, of Gregg’s move, which Rhode Island Public Radio was first to report on Wednesday. “As for corporate, well, to them, stories are just a sequence of words. M.J. Anderson had been here 35 years, and it’s just a huge loss. It’s just another diminishment of the paper — editorial writers in this market are just as important as reporters. But hey, it’s their call.”
GateHouse had acquired the ProJo when it purchased it from A.H. Belo in June 2014; in April of this year, GoLocal reported that Gatehouse CEO Kirk Davis got a $1 million raise, despite massive layoffs.
Of those let go at the ProJo, Hill said there were 22 “within four or five months after [GateHouse] took over in late 2014.”
“And a couple of buyouts, too, so that number’s probably around 30. And that’s just Guild people. They’ve cut and bought-out non-union,” said Hill. “We work for a corporation that’s sitting on millions in their war chest. They could do so so much to build and better the paper. Just watch and see, they’ll all get bonuses again.”
Former ProJo editorial pages editor Bob Whitcomb, who now writes a weekly “Digital Diary” feature for GoLocalProv.com, echoed Hill’s sentiment.
Strategy in Question
Alan Mutter, a consultant specializing in corporate initiatives and new media ventures involving journalism and technology after previously having been City Editor for the Chicago Sun-Times and at the San Francisco Chronicle, up until recently penned musings for his personal website, “Reflections of a Newsosaur.”
“I don’t know anything about the individuals or the background, so I cannot comment specifically on these events. However, it is safe to say that revenue-challenged publishers looking to reduce costs frequently have tried to replace older and higher-paid reporters with younger staffers,” said Mutter. “Having said that, newspapers aiming to beef up digital content need people who can take pictures, make videos, post on Facebook, tweet and more. In some cases, traditionally trained print journalists are unwilling and/or uncomfortable with these very real new requirements.”
Gregg has been an increasingly prolific on Twitter, posting over 20,000 Tweets since joining in 2011, and amassing nearly 6,000 followers. ProJo State House reporter Jennifer Bogdan has some 7,000 tweets, and 3,700 followers.
Whether Gregg, who is out on vacation, steps into a different role — or takes another direction altogether — remains to be seen.
“When long-serving staffers depart, they take a good deal of institutional knowledge and contacts with them,” said Mutter. “And that is not good for the paper or the community it serves.”
Related Slideshow: Where the Former Projo Stars Are Today
Take a look at where the top Providence Journal writers and reporters from the 1990s and 2000s are now reporting. UPDATED April, 2017
Airlines Reporter for Associated Press
Formerly ABC News correspondent - he is often the expert being quoted around airline strikes to plance crashes.
Photo: News Media Guild
New York Times
Barry was part of the young gun investigative group at the Journal in the early 1990s that won a Pulitzer for the investigation into Chief Justice Thomas Fay, and also investigated Cianci’s Nick Ricamo and others.
He was a Pulitzer Feature Writing finalist at the NY Times for his portfolio of "closely observed pieces that movingly capture how the great recession is changing lives and relationships in America.”
Washington Bureau Chief at the Boston Globe
He also has served as Metro political editor and as a healthcare reporter on the Business Desk.
Rowland covered Providence City Hall (among a number of assignments) during his Projo years.
LA Times (formerly)
Teaching in Hungry
Starkman previously was an editor at Columbia Journalism Review, Wall Street Journal and GoLocal. Starkman was part of the investigative team in 1994 at the Projo that won a Pulitzer.
An award-winning journalist and media critic, he is the author of 2014's “The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism.” Before leaving for Europe he was the Wall Street reporter for the LA Times.
USA Today (formerly
Since leaving the Providence Journal, he has had stints at Long Island's Newsday and The Denver Post.
At USA Today, Frank was a 2012 Pulitzer finalist "for his sharply focused exploration of inflated pensions for state and local employees, enhancing stories with graphic material to show how state legislators pump up retirement benefits in creative but unconscionable ways."
The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard
Terzian is literary editor of The Weekly Standard. In the 1990's he served as the editorial page writer for the Providence Journal. In his career, he has been a writer and editor at Reuters, newspapers in Alabama and Kentucky, the New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times.
Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
She was a pitbull State House reporter at the Providence Journal and has made a mark at the New England office of the Wall Street Journal.
She was part of the reporting team that was a Pulitzer Finalist in 2014 for a series called "Deadly Medicine," a stellar reporting project that documented the significant cancer risk to women of a common surgery and prompted a change in the prescribed medical treatment.
Once the State House reporter at the Providence Journal, today at the Post, Kevin is a longtime foreign correspondent who has been based in Tokyo, Mexico City and London, and also served as the Post’s Sunday and Features Editor.
He won a Pulitzer for international reporting with the Post in 2003, along with Mary Jordan, for their "exposure of horrific conditions in Mexico's criminal justice system and how they affect the daily lives of people."
New York Times
Pulitzer Prize winner in 2017.
Chivers is a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, where he "contributes to the Foreign and Investigative desks of The Times on conflict, politics, crime and human rights from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, Georgia, Chechnya and elsewhere on a wide range of assignments."
His assignments are far from his political coverage in Providence City Hall and the State House.
Today she serves as the political editor at the Globe and oversees coverage of the State House, City Hall, and Massachusetts politics. She was a political and State House reporter at the Providence Journal.
Peoples has become a top political reporter and the lead on Presidential coverage at the Associated Press. In 2012, he covered the Mitt Romney campaign. After he left the Providence Journal he covered politics for Roll Call and contributed to GoLocal.
Executive Editor, News and Strategy at Computer World
Mingis has risen through the ranks at the high tech pub and has served as the Apple expert and the online editor for Computer World, which is a different world from being the lead city reporter cover Buddy Cianci in the 1990s. He was the reporter who broke the infamous DiPrete Cranston Land Deal.
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