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Potential USA Today publishing company buyout would continue trend of seeking profit over viability, professor says

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

LAWRENCE — The publishing company that produces USA Today, one of the country’s largest newspapers, has received a buyout bid of $1.36 billion from MNG Enterprises, better known as Digital First Media. Gannett Co. has been targeted by the company, which has a history of taking over newspapers and cutting costs and jobs.

It is not clear if the buyout will go through, but Digital First said in a letter Monday it can run the company effectively. Should it happen, the move will continue a yearslong trend of media buyouts, consolidation and job-cutting by companies focused on profits, said a University of Kansas journalism professor who has researched changing media landscapes and newsroom layoffs.

“Corporations not necessarily committed to quality journalism that works in the best interest of their communities are purchasing media properties across the country, stripping away the newsroom staffs and churning as much profit as they can as quickly as they can with little regard to long-term viability,” said Scott Reinardy, Malcolm Applegate Professor of News Management & Editing.

Reinardy has conducted research and published books and scholarly articles on the changing media landscape. His work has examined newsroom layoffs, burnout, how media burnout has affected women, organizational adaptation of newspaper and television newsrooms, and more. He is available to discuss the potential buyout and related topics with media.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or mkrings@ku.edu.