Gazette Consolidation Response

Our earlier item on the conslidation between the co-owned Medina County Gazette and the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram got a lot of response.

But we’ve now received a “letter to the editor” from Chronicle-Telegram managing editor Julie Wallace, and we’ve given her the opportunity to respond directly in a new item…

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I would like to comment on the merger of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Medina Gazette.

Earlier this month, we – as in, Lorain County Printing and Publishing Co., the parent of both papers — moved production of The Gazette to the Elyria location. That means copy editors for the news and sports side as well as production for other departments – advertising and classified – moved, too. We did not move the reporters out of Medina – that truly would have been silly. And Liz Sheaffer, the managing editor at The Gazette, still is in Medina to guide them.

We did all this with a reason that should be clear to anyone in our industry: to save money.

Given the state of our economy, and the even worse state of our industry overall, we’d be crazy to continue to operate the papers independent of one another as has been the case since the Hudnutt family bought The Gazette in 1964. We wanted to find ways to save money so we could continue to provide our readers with what they’ve become accustomed – insightful stories by award-winning sports writers, hard-hitting news stories by writers who know the area and top-notch photography. For fairly small papers, we’ve got pretty tremendous staffs, and we’re proud of them both.

We definitely don’t want either paper to go away or their independent identities, either. In fact, we want to find a way to strengthen both papers and emerge even stronger when this terrible period in our industry comes to an end.

I guess what bothers me about what has been said in some of the comments is that they imply Elyria is running the show for The Gazette. That’s not the case. The Medina professionals who moved to the Elyria locale are laying out the paper (albeit with a Chronicle designer doing or directing Page 1 layout, which admittedly looks different than it used to) and Liz Sheaffer continues to decide what stories will be written and where they’ll appear in the paper. She was making those decisions before, and she’s still making them.

Yes, an Elyria story did appear in one paper, but that was only because a family member involved in the story was from Medina County, and that happened to be the day of the switchover, which obviously created some upheaval and doesn’t constitute a normal day by anybody’s definition.

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