The Holland Sentinel–a newspaper that was owned by Morris Communications (a media company based in Atlanta)–has been sold to another media corporation. The Sentinel was sold along with fourteen other newspapers around the country to Gatehouse Media for $115 million. Gatehouse Media owns 450 publications in 20 states, including 7 newspapers in Michigan.
The sale of the Holland Sentinel is a good opportunity to review how much of the local media in Grand Rapids is owned distant corporations. Grand Rapids’ only daily newspaper, the Grand Rapids Press, is owned by Booth Newspapers that is in turn owned by Advance Publications who owns a number of newspapers, magazines, and Internet sites. Since 1975, more than 2/3rds of independently owned newspapers have disappeared. Media reform advocates have charged this form of media consolidation threatens local coverage and reduces quality reporting.