Chain Gang: One Newspaper VS. the Gannett Empire

Chain Gang: One Newspaper VS. the Gannett Empire

by Richard McCord
     
 

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Startling case histories of the dubious tactics practiced by Gannett, unsparing insights into the newspaper industry, and harsh conclusions all come together in the dramatic story of these two men's efforts to save the small Green Bay daily from being obliterated at the hands of the nation's largest newspaper chain. Their success is a metaphor for one of the oldest…  See more details below

Overview

Startling case histories of the dubious tactics practiced by Gannett, unsparing insights into the newspaper industry, and harsh conclusions all come together in the dramatic story of these two men's efforts to save the small Green Bay daily from being obliterated at the hands of the nation's largest newspaper chain. Their success is a metaphor for one of the oldest triumphs of the world: that of David over Goliath.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
McCord has battled the Gannett newspaper giant twice and lived to tell about it in this fascinating book. Frustrated with big-city life, McCord and his then-wife light out for the territorySanta Fe, N.M., to be preciseand start their own weekly. But when the Gannett media empire buys the town's daily paper, McCord has cause for worry. Some of the freewheeling business practices he ascribes to Gannett, such as lying to advertisers and setting prices off the newspaper rate card, are ethically dubious, while others border on antitrust. But Gannett's influence on the rest of the newspaper world makes it difficult to get the word out as McCord fights first for the survival of his own weekly, and then for that of a daily owned by a friend in Green Bay, Wisc. McCord tells it all from the viewpoint of a small-town underdog, and as he travels from Salem, Ore., to Little Rock, Ark., and Green Bay, discovering how Gannett subverts the good journalism it claims to champion, readers won't be able to help but cheer him on. Be warned, however: McCord is a quirky character. When he digresses from his battles to talk about his inner feelings, the narrative turns slightly mawkish and underwhelming (the reader feels every mile of a road trip described in Chapter 15). Overall, however, this book is nearly impossible to put down, for the media curious or those who just like a good scrap. (July)
Library Journal
The demise of locally owned newspapers and the disappearance of competing papers have been topics of growing concern among journalists, scholars, and citizens. As the owner of the Santa Fe Reporter, McCord shares this concern. McCord here details his own experiences confronting Gannett, the country's largest newspaper chain, describing real people and places in the dramatic struggle to save small papers threatened by the advance of chains. Worried when Gannett purchased the competing New Mexican, he researched the tactics Gannett used in Salem, Oregon, to destroy its competition. In a preemptive strike, he published articles on Gannett's dirty tricks, preventing the use of similar tactics in Santa Fe. Aside from detailing his own experience, McCord documents the struggles of other newspapers and his own efforts to work with a colleague to save a small Green Bay, Wisconsin, daily targeted by Gannett. This book reads like a well-written suspense story with an uncertain conclusion. It will be a valuable addition to all journalism collections.Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ., Takoma Park, Md.
Booknews
McCord recounts his successful efforts as editor and publisher of the Santa Fe Reporter in New Mexico to fend off the Gannett corporation's takeover, and to help save a small Green Bay daily newspaper from Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain. For general readers, journalists, and students. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Patricia Hassler
In 1982, when Gannett, the country's largest newspaper chain, introduced its newest offspring, "USA Today", insiders quickly nicknamed it "McPaper," for aesthetic and economic reasons. The Gannett philosophy that the "only good market is a dead market" made editor and publisher McCord determined that his paper, the "Sante Fe Reporter", would not fall victim to this robber baron. He has produced a mind-boggling exposeof the chicanery of that unscrupulous empire. His exhaustive and often exhausting research documents the lengths to which Allen Neuharth and his organization would go to drive competition out of business. Fraud, price gouging, circulation scams, bribes, lies, and antitrust violations were as common as comics to an organization embodying America's poorest values. When Frank Wood, editor of the beleaguered "Green Bay News-Chronicle", solicited McCord's help to save that paper, McCord produced an award-winning exposethat countered Gannett's philosophy with some of his own: Evil will flourish if good men remain silent. Aptly titled "It's Now or Never," the project did stave off the corporate wolves in Wood's backyard, but McCord promises American newspapers that the McGreed pack still stalks. A mesmerizing look at the victimization of the American press.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826210647
Publisher:
University of Missouri Press
Publication date:
05/28/1996
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.08(d)

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