Gannett’s proposed purchase of a Midwest community-newspaper publisher is under investigation by the Justice Department, according to the Associated Press and the New York Times today. The McLean-based newspaper giant (whose pretty new HQ we covered last week) is looking to buy the community papers in Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
There are also rumblings that Gannett might be close to buying the Pulitzer newspaper chain. (Ironic, huh, that the most famous name in journalism might become victim to the cookie-cutter Gannett mold?)
Now Fishbowl’s not the brightest bulb on the block, but a quick gander at the history of Gannett gave us some pause this morning. The Gannett empire owns 101 daily newspapers, including USA Today, as well as 21 television stations and over 800 “nondaily” publications. It had over $6.7 billion in revenues in 2003, and is the 275th largest company on the Fortune 500, as well as the largest in the Publishing and Printing category.
And the Justice Department is worried that it’s becoming a monopoly because it wants to purchase a chain that has one daily and 62 weekly or twice weekly papers? Oh! But don’t forget HomeTown’s 24 telephone directories! That’s really what will allow it to control all sources of information.
Hmm. We think that if regulators were concerned that about consolidation and antitrust in the media industry, they might have wanted to act a little sooner.
No matter, we can always go back to getting news from our local Clear Channel radio station….