GateHouse Media will consolidate 50 of its weekly newspapers in Massachusetts into 18, starting this week.
No newspapers will be closed, according to a memo to GateHouse New England staff on May 31 from Peter Meyer, president and publisher at GateHouse Media's The Providence Journal, and Lisa Strattan, vice president of news at GateHouse New England.
Total circulation will remain largely unchanged, according to Meyer and Strattan. The new, larger weeklies will cover the same market areas.
“Newspapers that are merging already overlap neighboring communities, share news stories and event listings,” the memo reads.
Some of the new, merged titles will ditch the local town names, while others will combine to retain both original publication names.
For example, Hopkinton Crier, Shrewsbury Chronicle, Northborough Villager, Southborough Villager and The Westborough News will all combine to become Village News.
The Tewksbury Advocate and the Wilmington Advocate,on the other hand, will become The Tewksbury-Wilmington Advocate.
“Our readers will continue to receive the same in-depth local news coverage of their town plus additional reporting from nearby communities giving them up-to-date news on what's happening in their region,” the memo reads.
“Our advertisers will receive increased print market reach, simplified buy execution and enhanced digital opportunities.”
Meyer and Strattan noted that the company is “not decreasing the number of communities we serve or reducing the amount of local news coverage our readers receive.”
The consolidation is an effort to reduce production expenses, with fewer plate changes on press, trucking and mailing costs.
No changes are being made to the Wicked Local websites, a network of GateHouse Media sites that covers the Eastern Massachusetts region.
Last week, GateHouse Media let go of over 100 employees in a restructuring.
The Wall Street Journal also recently reported that GateHouse is in talks with Gannett about a potential merger. Gannett operates USA Today and over 100 other local media brands.
GateHouse publishes 156 daily newspapers and over 350 community papers nationwide.