A changing of the ‘Guard’

Baker family selling daily paper to out-of-state conglomerate

Sterling Gonzalez // The Torch
The Register-Guard will be sold to GateHouse Media on March 1, after 91 years as an independent media company.

GateHouse Media will officially own The Register-Guard as of March 1, meaning that the Eugene newspaper, locally owned for more than 90 years, will no longer be locally owned next month. According to its website, GateHouse “is one of the largest publishers of locally-based media in the United States.”

In a post on The Register-Guard’s online publication, the paper’s publisher Logan Molen said that the sale to GateHouse will end the paper’s 91-year-long ownership by the Baker family, but it is necessary for a paper that aims to continue “[p]roducing and distributing high-quality local content and advertising seven days a week — and 24/7 online” in the midst of “intense financial pressures that are difficult to bear alone.”

Molen also wrote in the post that GateHouse will allow The Register-Guard to access new resources, such as “upgraded systems, improved publishing tools, support and training in wide areas of expertise, and new products designed to help local businesses reach new audiences.”

Joshua Burstein, a Eugene resident for ten years and avid reader of newspapers since his childhood, said that he is trying to be optimistic but has some concerns about GateHouse’s forthcoming ownership of The Register-Guard.

“Eugene is my home,” he said. “Smallest place I’ve lived in, but my favorite. It’s my favorite because it has a community feel and I think The Register-Guard adds to that as a family-owned paper.”

“I don’t mind if we have national ads in the paper and I don’t mind national coverage,” Burstein said, “but I worry if [GateHouse’s ownership] will affect the content of the paper. I hope it will continue to provide strong local coverage.”

Burstein, who knows some Register-Guard staff members personally, also said that he also fears that GateHouse’s ownership will result in a cutback on The Register-Guard’s 240 local staff members.

In his Register-Guard post, Logan wrote that although GateHouse will bring change to The Register-Guard, some aspects of the paper will not change, such as the “seven-day home delivery” of the paper and “editorial freedom.”

“[W]e can endorse who we want, when we want and how we want without an edict from afar,” he wrote.

In an email, Logan also said that he believes that Gatehouse shares with The Register-Guard “the mindset that local news and information is a competitive strength at a time when we’re swimming in information 24-7.”