Gannett, owner of USA Today, other newspapers, scaling back opinion pages to combat 'biased' perception

Die Washington Post reported on Thursday the newspapershave begun to radically shrink and reimagine their editorial sections, publishing them on fewer days each week and dropping traditional features such as syndicated columns and editorial cartoons,” daarop let “[e]ven political endorsements and letters to the editor are being scaled back.

The Post reported acommittee of editorsfrom various newspapers gathered for a meeting in April and concludedreaders don’t want us to tell them what to thinkand that theyperceive us as having a biased agenda.

The committee also established that editorials and columns arefrequently citedby readers as the reason they cancel subscriptions to various newspapers despite them beingamong our least-read content.

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The corporate flags for the Gannett Co and its flagship newspaper, VSA Vandag, fly outside their corporate headquarters in McLean, Virginia, Julie 23, 2013. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

The corporate flags for the Gannett Co and its flagship newspaper, VSA Vandag, fly outside their corporate headquarters in McLean, Virginia, Julie 23, 2013. (REUTERS/Larry Downing) (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

The report listed actions that various Gannett newspapers had taken like the Arizona Republic announcing last week it would include opinion pages in its print edition only three days per week. Newspapers like MassachusettsCape Cod Times and Florida’s Treasure Coast Palm are narrowing it to two days per week, while others like North Carolina’s New Bern Sun Journal is going just one day per week.

The Gannett committee urged its papers to roll back political endorsements by keeping them local and refrain from making presidential, House and Senate endorsements. It also called for papers to stop printing syndicated columns and restrict letters to the editor for rare instances in print editions.

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Internal research from Gannett found that young readers in particularoften can’t tell the difference between news reporting and opinion, especially online,” and readersoften mistakenly believe that news stories are dictated by the paper’s editorial side,” volgens die Pos.

St.. Louis, MO. A USA Today newspaper despenser. (foto deur: Newscast/UIG via Getty Images)

St.. Louis, MO. A USA Today newspaper despenser. (foto deur: Newscast/UIG via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Randy Bergmann warned Gannett that scaling back the editorial pages, which he oversaw for 18 years at New Jersey’s Asbury Park Press before he was laid off in 2020, would be a mistake, telling the Post, “I argued that opinion leadership was one of the most important functions of the newspaper… I saw the impact of the editorials that I wrote at a local level.

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A spokesperson for Gannett told Fox News Digital, “While USA TODAY and the USA TODAY Network’s editorial approach to opinion pages has evolved throughout the course of many years, our commitment to challenging convention and sharing diverse opinions has not changed. We continue to ensure we balance the need for locally focused topics with national themes of relevance that resonate with our readers and the communities we serve.

Among the most prominent newspapers Gannett owns alongside USA Today include The Des Moines Register, The Detroit Free Press, The Indianapolis Star, Die Tennessean, Die Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Louisville Courier-Journal and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

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