My concern about the future of newspaper journalism in a city my wife and I once called “home” is building. I am unsure of how or where this concern will end up. Suffice to say I cannot shake this feeling of doom for the future of the Amarillo Globe-News.
I do not read the daily print newspaper. I no longer reside in Amarillo. I do try to read the “paper” online, but I need to subscribe to it. I decline to do so. Why? There’s not enough news about the Texas Panhandle to interest me.
The Globe-News is now owned by Gannett Corp., the company that merged with GateHouse Media; GateHouse assumed control of Gannett, but kept the Gannett name. Gannett is known throughout the newspaper industry as a cost-cutting juggernaut. It seeks to “save its way to prosperity.” From what I have seen for many years now, through three corporate ownerships, the Globe-News has been slashed, decimated and reduced to a newsgathering organization that is just a mere shadow of what is used to be.
The most troubling thing I see in the online edition is a heavy reliance on news from down south, in Lubbock, where Gannett also operates a newspaper.
My point is this: I see a lot of news relating to Texas Tech University on the front page of the Globe-News’ online edition. Texas Tech is a fine school, but it is headquartered in Lubbock. It has a decent presence in Amarillo, but its influence there remains somewhat muted.
Conversely, when I look at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s online edition, I never see news covering Amarillo or the Texas Panhandle. Do you get my drift? If not, it is merely that the influence flows only in one direction, from Lubbock to Amarillo.
I am left to wonder whether there will even be an Amarillo Globe-News in the future. The newspaper used to employ dozens of reporters, line editors and photographers. It now employs a single sports writer, two general-assignment reporters, a regional executive editor and a regional director of commentary.
That … is … it!
The grumbling I hear from my many friends in Amarillo all say the same thing. The newspaper doesn’t report the news.
It saddens me terribly.
I want desperately to be wrong about the future of print journalism in the Texas Panhandle.