The nation’s largest newspaper chain announced June 1 that it was acquiring 11 daily news properties from Digital First Media (DFM), including the WBNG-represented York Daily Record/Sunday News and York Dispatch, which though owned by Gannett, will continue to have an independent publisher.
Owner of USA Today – and now 80 other daily newspapers – Gannett is the largest U.S. publisher by revenue and second largest in number of titles, with DFM managing about 100 newsrooms. Gannett had previously announced that it is about to split into two companies: TEGNA, for broadcast; and Gannett, which will become its “publishing division.”
The transaction involving the 11 daily newspaper properties in Texas, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania (including non-Guild papers in Hanover, Lebanon, and Chambersburg) seems to confirm that DFM was planning to sell off its daily products piecemeal in the wake of a failed deal to have them all purchased outright by Apollo Global Management.
In a statement, Robert Dickey, president of Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing group and soon-to-be CEO of its publishing company, hailed the acquisitions. “We are pleased to welcome these [properties] … as we further our efforts to expand our reach as the best local media in America for consumers and businesses.”
The purchase of the WBNG-represented Dispatch, does not affect its independent editorial operations or its collective bargaining. The two York dailies combined their business activities in 1990, and have shared a building since 2013, when the Dispatch moved its editorial staff from downtown York to the Daily Record offices – now owned by Gannett – in adjacent West Manchester Township.