Finally, there’s the question of what this approach says about the value of news, and of newspapers. It’s obviously true that this is a tough time for newspapers. The market is changing; the quality is not always all it should be; in some cases, “restructuring” may be unavoidable. If you believe that journalism matters, and that the sort of newspapers Gannett owns can be a source of journalism that matters, that’s an important story—which means that reporters need to be set free to cover it aggressively, and the managers implementing these changes need to be out there explaining, at every opportunity, how their papers are going to get better.

But that’s not happening. For all the grief Hopkins has given the company lately, his obsessive coverage at Gannett Blog rests on the idea that Gannett newspapers matter. As for what the company itself has to say? Not so much.


Anna Clark is CJR's correspondent for Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A 2011 Fulbright fellow, Clark has written for The Guardian, Grantland, and Salon; blogs at Isak; and can be found on Twitter @annaleighclark. She lives in Detroit.