The phrase ‘Potemkin Village’ might be unfamiliar, but it is the well chosen one used referring to the sad state of the newspaper industry in this article in NiemanLab. In essence it describes a façade.
We have frequently written about the emaciated local newspaper, the open borders, Hillary-endorsing, Periódico de la República de Arizona (Arizona Republic) which has shrunken in physical size, staff and content. Parent company Gannett, laid off Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Benson in January, due to the inability to pay him. Contractual buyouts, followed by layoffs have left the newspaper in the hands of ASU Cronkite Journalism School students, working out of their cars, in dire need of editors.
Friday’s edition carried an article so telling of the grim fate of the newspaper, it was buried on page 13. Headlined, “Arizona Republic’s owner reportedly in merger talks,” it leaves little doubt that imminent change is on the horizon.
Gannett Co., which also publishes USA Today, recently participated in merger talks with GateHouse Media, possibly resulting in a deal that would keep the Arizona Republic afloat a while longer. Continually insulting readers with its leftist spew and irrational anti-Trump stance, has caused subscriptions to plunge. Today’s edition buries a report of of the apprehension of 1,000 illegal aliens on Page 19. The newspaper deviously refers to them as “migrants.”
Recently, Gannett barely survived a hostile takeover by Digital First Media.
In January we wrote, “AZ Republic: homeless vagrant on borrowed time,” detailing that the 10-story building and parking garage the Republic once called home was sold for a reported $38 million. The plan is for the company to lease back space from ViaWest, the Phoenix-based real estate company that purchased the newspaper’s properties.
This is not a recipe for success, further evidenced by Gannett’s continually plummeting stock prices. The local newspaper would prefer to drop the hard copies altogether and go completely digital, cutting outlay even more, since costs incurred by production and delivery all contribute to the earlier demise of the newsosaur. The major obstacle it faces, however, is its own leftist obstinacy, which powers the disconnect from the remaining readers. In 2016, Arizona gave all 11 of its electoral votes to Donald Trump. As much as it rankles those still running the newspaper, he remains immensely popular here, drawing massive crowds to his appearances.