Green Bay Daily Packing It In

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(AP) The Green Bay News-Chronicle will close June 3, not quite one year after Gannett Co. bought it and more than 30 years after it was started by striking newspaper workers.

The decision means Green Bay will fall from the shrinking list of U.S. cities with two or more daily newspapers. Gannett owns the city’s remaining paper, the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The News-Chronicle “is a business that has not been financially successful for years,” Julie Nenahlo, Gannett’s regional market development director in Appleton, said Thursday.

The decision, though not unexpected, drew tears in the News-Chronicle’s newsroom. Editor Tom Brooker described it as “kind of like jumping into Lake Michigan. You know it is going to be cold, but that doesn’t keep the shock from hitting you as soon as you hit the water.”

The News-Chronicle was launched in 1972 as the Green Bay Daily News, a newspaper started by strikers at the Press-Gazette. Frank Wood bought it four years later, merged it with his metro shopper, the Brown County Chronicle, and changed the name to the News-Chronicle.

Wood had called Gannett his hated adversary for more than two decades and complained the nation’s largest newspaper group was trying to drive him out of business. In 1989 the News-Chronicle published a 10-part series about its battle with the Press-Gazette.

Last July, however, Wood sold the daily newspaper and 33 other publications to Gannett for an undisclosed price.

Wood, 76, said Thursday he was saddened by the News-Chronicle’s closure. He praised Gannett for trying to stem years of red ink, and for providing new jobs for most of his former workers.

As of two weeks ago, Brooker said the News-Chronicle had a circulation of about 5,000 weekdays and 7,400 Sundays. The Press-Gazette has a circulation of about 56,675 daily and 83,175 Sundays, Nenahlo said.

Of the News-Chronicle’s 31 full-time workers, 25 have been offered comparable positions at other Gannett operations in the Green Bay area, Brooker said. Six full-time and eight part-time workers are losing their jobs, he said.

Brooker said he will remain with the company, overseeing news operations at the five weekly newspapers that Gannett acquired from Wood.

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