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Thanks, @Gannett!

Thursday, Nov 3, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Election day is in five days and early and mail-in voting has been underway for a while now. So, let’s look at a few front pages of Gannett websites in this state, starting with the State Journal-Register

* Rockford Register Star

* Peoria Journal Star

Except for that what not to wear headline and the generic election day info “guide,” you’d barely know there was an election going on. And forget about news stories which help inform voters about who is running, what they stand for and why readers should care.

Gannett, you will recall, took over the printing of Dan Proft’s newspapers when the Daily Herald was embarrassed into dropping its contract with him.

* So, let’s take a look at one of Proft’s papers that Gannett is printing…

While basically blacking out local, state and national political coverage in their own actual newspapers, the company is printing all that political propaganda for cash. And it’s not just today. I visit those papers looking for content every day.

Such a responsible “news” company.


  1. - H-W - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:37 am:

    When Gannett took over the local (only) newspaper in McDonough County (the McDonough County Voice), it fired the only salaried employee (the editor), and let all the part-time story writers go.

    Since then, I have tried several times to get letters to the editor published, but to no avail. There is no contact information (save for the 1-888-zzz-zzzz Gannett number, tied to USA Today). I sent letters to the other editors still in this region, seeking information or to be published, but to no avail.

    In its absence, a new local paper has emerged, but it is a once a week outlet, and mostly just ads, arrests, and real estate transfers.

    I guess the people of the regions where Gannett operates are of little importance, compared to the crises of raising taxes and releasing all criminals.


  2. - Froganon - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:38 am:

    Gannet papers have been a pretty worthless source of actual information for sometime. Their coverage of anything that’s progressive is nonexistent.

  3. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:43 am:

    It’s high time to break up these media conglomerates. This is a disgrace.

  4. - Pundent - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:45 am:

    It seems like the only reason for existence for some of these papers is to monetize their presses for those looking to spread propaganda. The fact that they’ve all but abandoned covering elections make it that much worse.

  5. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:47 am:

    No substance. What really bothers me is some of these papers, the Trib and Sun-Times included, splash clickbait ads disguised as news articles right on their websites, often on the same page or intermingled with actual news. It really is a turnoff for me, and makes them part of the “fake news” problem. Does the little bit of money you get from that justify muddling your actual work?

  6. - Abdon - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:51 am:

    Almost seems like it’s by design, doesn’t it?

  7. - Ares - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:54 am:

    My Proft propaganda devotes the back page of each addition to where former HS football starts are attending college today. We are back to the 1800’s when political parties published the news.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:56 am:

    ===Almost seems like it’s by design, doesn’t it?===

    The suppression to the idea that it’s election season and election day is upon us, credible news sources know that elections not only matter but generate news.

    To purposely have uninformed readers by choosing not to cover democracy, that’s a red flag that democracy or the possibility of democracy isn’t a want to bring to light.

    There are no accidents, but this purposeful suppression of interests in democracy is the passive way participation in democracy dwindles.

  9. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    Ares, saw the same thing in the Proft rag that showed up in our mail yesterday here in Sangamon County.

  10. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    Now do Shaw newspapers.

    The front page today is “High School Girls Volleyball”.

    Not the front page of the sports section. The front page of the paper.

  11. - Jerry - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:06 am:

    =“compared to the crises of raising taxes and releasing all criminals”=

    What specific taxes are going up?

    What criminals are being released? Where? By whom? (please name names!)

  12. - Stuck in Celliniland - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    Meanwhile, those in the Springfield area are welcome to go to today’s Illinois Times and get some detailed pre-election coverage. Including just from today’s paper, written by former SJR refugees (e.g., Dean Olsen, Scott Reeder, and even Bruce Rushton is back). (Hamilton v. Turner in 48th)

    Now if only the Illinois Times can convince Bernie to come out of retirement.

  13. - Demoralized - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    ==Such a responsible “news” company.==

    When you allow yourself to be used to publish propaganda you are no longer a news organization. They destroyed any credibility they may have had.

  14. - Behind the Scenes - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:18 am:

    If you pay close attention to the SJ-R page at the top of this piece, you’ll note the majority of the stories are two to three days old. Local content in the print edition is virtually non-existant, save for high school sports. Maybe two actual local news stories in each day’s edition and the rest is USA Today re-printed and squeezed in between page after full page of advertising. They have no local presence that I know of and if you call their local phone number you get to talk to someone in a call center in Phoenix.

  15. - Honeybear - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    We got the Metro East Sun yesterday. Can someone explain to me why these papers can’t be sued for violating campaign laws?

  16. - Amalia - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    Excellent post Isabel (banned punctuation) Guess we can all just abandon printing political pieces with disclaimers and head straight to fake newsprint.

  17. - low level - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:24 am:

    They actually gave space to Flip Flop Fioretti. Any reputable news outlet stopped covering him years ago.

  18. - Anotheretiree - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:27 am:

    I received a strange mini paper yesterday called Sangamon Sun. Heavy with gender school themes, and SAFE-T act warnings using mug shots. Printed in Palatine P&DC (?).

  19. - Stuck in Celliniland - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:30 am:

    Considering Gannett’s business model, I’m surprised they didn’t charge Proft at least tens of billions dollars to publish his papers, then mail them for free to everyone. Then after Election Day, send everyone a bill for them. While continuing to squeeze out whatever’s left of USA Today, the SJR, and their other papers.

    I will also go on a limb and say by this time next year, I will not be shocked if SJR is down to only 4 days print paper and e-edition only, at most. Or Gannett simply merges the entirety of USA Today into their local papers–while keeping one thin “local” section in each paper. And charge $10 an issue, if they are generous.

  20. - Scott - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    That second to last image “What are kids reading?” is giving me some good ideas of things to add to my kids reading lists.

  21. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:33 am:

    I have never seen one of fake newspapers. That is stomach turning for the misinformation, tone and hate.

  22. - Kippax Blue - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:36 am:

    I thought of it as a civic duty to subscribe to the SJ-R; local newspapers have undergone such substantial losses recently. I believed my subscription would help keep the paper providing news. I was very wrong, as the example of the SJ-R provided is an example of the paper everyday. Local sports and restaurant reviews (behind the subscription wall, mind) are the primary stories. I stayed on board until reading here that gannett was taking over printing the proft garbage…I had to call Peoria to cancel the Springfield paper. And i am almost sorry to say I don’t miss the subscription one bit… almost.

  23. - Amalia - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:39 am:

    From Wikipedia which links to a Proft 2010 gov piece that now ghosts….”At Northwestern, Proft co-founded the Northwestern Chronicle, an independent campus newspaper.” And from a piece on The Chronicle on the tenth anniversary of the newspaper…
    “One of the reasons for the Chronicle’s persistence is financial stability. It receives funding from the Collegiate Network, which funds conservative newspapers on campuses nationwide.” So the connects with conservative dark money run very deep with Proft.

  24. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:40 am:

    Someone’s figured out that if you let them buy your printing press that they won’t show up to break it.

  25. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:50 am:

    This is obviously awful, but Fox News has been doing this for years. To a much larger audience.

    I remember the day the Jan 6 committee issued the subpoena to TFG, the fox news website didn’t mention it at all. And their lead story was about some Dem rep’s chief of staff who no one has ever heard about who recently resigned.

  26. - Dog Lover - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:56 am:

    I keep waiting for mainstream news to do a better job exposing the lies. They play a soundbite from a politician that’s 100% false and let it stand without correcting it. I’m very thankful for Capitol Fax.

  27. - Hunter S Thompson - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 10:59 am:

    looks like these ‘fake’ newspapers do more relevant and hard hitting journalism than the so called main stream ‘newspapers’

  28. - pipersls - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    Cool Papa Bell - Try getting a copy of the “Sangamon Sun”

  29. - up2now - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    I remember how we used to preview election candidates and issues when I was in the local newspaper business. If I were dead now, I would be rolling over in my grave.

  30. - - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 11:22 am:

    As a freshman journalism student at Medill 15 years ago, the school had a recruiter from Gannett come in to talk to the class during orientation. When he said “we don’t care if you’re a good writer, we look for people who can build a personal brand on Twitter,” I knew that journalism in this country was doomed, and declared a double major in something else the next day.

  31. - Tom - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 11:32 am:

    You’d think the state capital daily would have stuff that would effect state government.

  32. - former state employee - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 11:45 am:

    Some of these articles are dripping with slim, I need to take another shower

  33. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    Got one of Proft’s “newspapers” in the mail yesterday.

    I scratched my head and said, “I don’t remember subscribing to the National Enquirer.”

  34. - Dan - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 11:56 am:

    Got one of those yesterday in Bloomington/McLean County. Couldn’t tell who printed it but there was an almost identical ‘From the publisher’ blue-boxed letter on one of the inside pages.

  35. - Huh? - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:01 pm:

    “Got one of Proft’s “newspapers” in the mail yesterday.”

    Told Sheba that the only thing the paper was good for was lining the bottom of a bird cage.

  36. - Stuck in Celliniland - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    Maybe the Illinois Times can consider publishing twice a week?

  37. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    Same thing is wrong with local TV news. Channel 20 in Springfield is just painful to watch.

  38. - Stuck in Celliniland - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    Speaking of Rushton and the IT, here’s his more in-depth story from today about the Taper Collection fiasco. Something this in depth you will no longer see in the SJR, unless it’s about restaurant reviews and weekend entertainment.

  39. - Stuck in Celliniland - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:19 pm:

    ==As a freshman journalism student at Medill 15 years ago, the school had a recruiter from Gannett come in to talk to the class during orientation. When he said “we don’t care if you’re a good writer, we look for people who can build a personal brand on Twitter,” I knew that journalism in this country was doomed, and declared a double major in something else the next day.==

    And four years after your experience Gatehouse (whom was bought out by Gannett) decided to eliminate the SJR printing press and start printing the Springfield paper in Peoria.

  40. - Old and In the Way - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:20 pm:

    Hunter S. Thompson- I’m so old I knew Hunter. Believe me you are no HST and he would have savaged you verbally and in print for such a moronic comment. Try a new nickname.

  41. - Anon 9:11 - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    =Told Sheba that the only thing the paper was good for was lining the bottom of a bird cage.=

    Only if you hated your bird.

  42. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 12:56 pm:

    With the slow and inevitable decline in newspapers generally, I will only buy a paper at a Dollar Tree, otherwise the little actual news isn’t worth the price. But sadly, Chicago papers (who also bought up many of the suburban ones years ago) are barely worth Internet subscriptions as well.

  43. - Stuck in Celliniland - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 1:12 pm:

    The SJR’s site has now been updated. The new lead story? “Mas Sabores to reopen in Chatham after three months in Springfield.”

    Mas Sabores is a restaurant, and since it concerns a restaurant in Gannett’s mind then it goes behind the paywall. Probably to only appear on the online version anyway (and not in print), so if you want all articles the SJR bothers to write anymore you have to subscribe to the print and the online too.

  44. - Ares - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 1:20 pm:

    It is shocking (or perhaps not so) that Proft is a Northwestern graduate.

  45. - Abu Iskander - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 1:25 pm:

    Actual periodicals have to follow certain rules, as outlined in the Domestic Mail Manual (statement of ownership, for example)–otherwise it is just advertising. I have not seen anything in these so-called “publications” that shows that they have published their statement of ownership, or otherwise followed the DMM. Maybe they have, and I’ve missed it, but if this outfit paid for these rags six years ago using PAC funds, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have retained their promiscuous relationship with other rules.

    Using Times New Roman font and news print is not the thing that makes you a “newspaper”. I wonder if the Press Assn has any thoughts on these dark money outfits masquerading as “newspapers”.

  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 1:27 pm:

    ===I wonder if the Press Assn has any thoughts===

    Try to keep up. They repeatedly tried to expose the papers for what they were, then kinda went silent when Gannett took over from the DH.

  47. - Abu Iskander - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 1:43 pm:

    I’ve been keeping up. But I should have been clearer, Rich. It seems that, if LGIS is using Gannett’s periodicals permit to mail out what is essentially political advertising, it isn’t just a problem for us receiving the “junk mail” . . .

    But I actually haven’t seen the postal permit.

  48. - Incandenza - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 2:07 pm:

    This is the future. Billionaires and shady foreign investors (*cough* Saudis *cough*) buying up newspapers and media outlets until our entire media diet is political propaganda.

  49. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 2:12 pm:

    The business of America is business…how much has been sold to Saudi Arabia and Russia in questionable business “deals” remains an unanswered question…that deserves an answer?

  50. - Amalia - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 3:01 pm:

    so they get my name off a voters list and I get Proft’s garbage in the mail. like other candidate mail, but deceptive. somebody please come up with a legal theory against this.

  51. - The Last Word - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 3:49 pm:

    About as “responsible” as this rag of a blog which has been aiding and abetting the DPI for years…. Get real Rich.

  52. - KSDinCU - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 3:57 pm:

    We received two different editions of the “Chambana Sun” yesterday and today, both utter trash, of course. But I was pleased to see somne pushback from the News-Gazette, though not as strong as I would have liked.

  53. - H-W - Thursday, Nov 3, 22 @ 7:20 pm:

    @Jerry 10:06 am

    I was being sarcastic with regard to Proft’s political mantra. I was suggesting Gannett, Proft, Uirlein, etc. do not care about regional news, nor people who buy their papers.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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