Retrenchment continues

A newspaper that employed me for nearly 18 years and which served as the dominant source of information for the Texas Panhandle and three nearby states has taken quite possibly a step closer to oblivion.

It saddens me greatly.

The Amarillo Globe-News has suspended one day of publication; it no longer publishes a Saturday edition. The end of the Saturday newspaper was effective yesterday. The paper announced it was “combining” Friday and Saturday editions into a Friday newspaper, which is a kinder/gentler way of telling readers that they no longer will receive a Saturday edition of a once-solid newspaper.

Oh … sigh.

I practiced my craft at the Globe-News for nearly 18 years. Then I walked away in August 2012. I haven’t looked back too often. When I have, though, I see things that distress me. The newspaper has changed corporate ownership twice since I departed. Morris Communications sold its entire newspaper holdings to GateHouse Media, which then merged with Gannett Corp.

The retrenchment has commenced in the Panhandle just as it is in communities across the country.

I don’t like what I fear is going to happen eventually to a newspaper that in 1961 earned a Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service but which is now devolving into a shadow not just of what it was during those great days but also of what it has become just in the past few years.

The newspaper that once covered communities throughout every county in the Panhandle, into eastern New Mexico, the Oklahoma Panhandle and even a sliver of southwestern Kansas now barely covers events inside the city of Amarillo. It now employs a tiny fraction of the staff it once boasted. Advertising revenue has plummeted, along with paid newspaper circulation.

Hey, it’s not unique to that region. It’s just that it hurts me, your friendly blogger, to watch it happen in a place that brought me great joy during the final stage of my print journalism career.

I am not looking forward to what I believe lies ahead for the Amarillo Globe-News.