I cannot avoid a comment on what I perceive to be the slow, agonizing death of a newspaper that employed me for nearly 18 years before I was “reorganized” out of a job in the summer of 2012.
I noticed this week that the Amarillo Globe-News and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal – two newspapers owned formerly by the same corporate owners – published identical editorials on the same day. Morris Communications sold its entire newspaper group in October 2017 to Gatehouse Media.
So, what’s going on here?
The Globe-News and the Avalanche-Journal are being run by a single publisher, one executive editor, one opinion page editor, one circulation director, one production director.
The opinion editor – aka the director of commentary – ran identical editorials in both papers that (a) congratulates the Texas Tech Red Raiders for their runner-up finish in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and (b) salutes the Wayland Baptist University women’s basketball team for its induction into the college basketball hall of fame.
I shall point out that the Texas Tech is based in Lubbock; Wayland Baptist is in Plainview. The Globe-News no longer circulates in Plainview; I do not believe the A-J does either.
I am left to wonder: What’s the story here?
I have lamented the lack of local emphasis on the editorial page of the paper that employed me and gave me the opportunity to serve as editorial page editor. The G-N used to cover the Texas Panhandle like a blanket. From Dalhart to Childress, from Perryton to Plainview. We even had an eastern New Mexico bureau in Clovis and our reach stretched into the Oklahoma Panhandle and even a bit into southwestern Kansas.
That was then. The here and now is quite different.
Morris Communications retrenched, reduced and redirected its diminishing resources inward before giving up the fight in the changing media climate. The Globe-News reporting and editing staff was decimated.
Gatehouse is now finishing what I believe began under the former corporate ownership.
Identical editorial commentaries on the same publication day tell me that Gatehouse – despite what it tells its readers – has no intention of serving these respective communities fully.
Gatehouse has vacated the Globe-News’s historic buildings and relocated into the FirstBank Southwest Tower. The old G-N site is up for sale. Its physical presence in the community has diminished right along with its news and editorial commentary influence.
It saddens me greatly to detect what I believe is happening.