By: George Garneau
SCRIPPS HOWARD’S PLAN to absorb the Harte-Hanks newspapers continues a long trend in newspapers ? but with a relatively new twist in the last few years.
Instead of chains buying up independent newspapers ? a decades-long and continuing movement ? big chains are taking over smaller chains.
“Now that the number of independent dailies is down to 300 or so, and they’re mostly tiny, it’s logical that these companies would gobble up small groups,” said John Morton, who follows newspapers with Morton Research of Silver Spring, Md.
Just since 1990, the number of newspaper groups, defined as two or more papers under one owner, skidded to 126, from 145, Morton said.
Some of the smaller newspaper groups that have been absorbed by larger chains in the last few years: Worrall, Multimedia, Lesher, Park, Stauffer, Eagle, Capital Cities, Scripps League.
Morton’s prediction: more of the same.
Advantages of bigness include buying power for newsprint, clustering regionally to cut costs and leveraging regional and national advertising.
“A stand-alone paper has to do everything Gannett has to do,” Morton said, mentioning the nation’s biggest newspaper publisher.
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?(copyright: Editor & Publisher May 24, 1997)