Saturday, June 07, 2008

Gatehouse Media in Financial Trouble: Is the A-B TAB At Risk?

Earlier this year the Allston-Brighton TAB had to cut its only full-time reporter position as a result of the budget woes of GateHouse Media, the parent company of the TAB and the owner of more than 100 newspapers (mostly community weeklies).

Now Dan Kennedy reports on the Media Nation blog that Gatehouse Media is descending rapidly into financial turmoil:
GateHouse Media may be in deep trouble. According to the blog, the chain — based in suburban Rochester, N.Y. — is doing so badly that you might be able to get some furniture and computers cheap in a few months. After turning itself into a publicly traded company several years ago, the stock price has tanked, falling 80 percent over the past year.

247's Douglas McIntyre writes: "Watch for GHS to be broken up before the end of the year or to enter Chapter 11." (GHS is GateHouse's symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.) Wow.

What's more, the Motley Fool recently listed GateHouse as one of "5 Deathbed Stocks." [some hyperlinks added]
Before you decide not to renew your subscription to the TAB lest the money be lost in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Kennedy thinks the community papers won't die even if the parent company goes belly-up:
GateHouse may or may not survive, but its papers should probably be all right in the long run. Community newspapers are in a better market position than major metros these days. Providers of quality local news don't face a lot of competition either from other papers or, with a few exceptions, from the Internet.
While some in the neighborhood periodically complain about poor reporting here or there in the paper, the A-B TAB fulfills a valuable role in the community by keeping the neighborhood informed of news, activities, and interesting people among us. So send in those renewal checks to try to keep the paper afloat.

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