My dreams of a benevolent, progressive billionaire riding in on a white Prius have been dashed. A. H. Belo has agreed to sell the Providence Journal and its production facility, for $46 million in cash, to New Media Investment Group Inc., the parent company of GateHouse Media. The Fountain Street building is not part of the deal and is still for sale.
The thought of Rhode Island politicians operating in the absence of a major, local newspaper — one with the resources and staff needed for running long-term, in-depth investigations — is terrifying.
The new owners are making noises about continuing the grand tradition of Pulitzer prizes and journalism. However, New Media’s portfolio of small-town dailies, weeklies, and websites is hardly reassuring. Providence Business News quotes New Media’s CEO, Michael Reed,
We deeply admire the great work that has been done in Providence under the stewardship of A.J. Belo and look forward to continuing that tradition.
Oh, that tradition.