Journal Sentinel after the sale

When the sale was announced weeks ago, it took many by surprise. 

The Journal Sentinel, long a locally-owned and locally-based news operation was sold for the second time in a year. Now it's owned by Gannett Media, the company already in charge of a handful of Wisconsin newspapers - as well as USA TODAY and hundreds more around the country. 

What will the Journal Sentinel look like after all is said and done? And what about the jobs for those currently employed? 

Bruce Murphy took a look, and his diagnosis is not good. 

"Gannett is a company known for squeezing costs in order to drive up profits,' Murphy says. 

In fact, Murphy says Gannett papers will often shoot for profit margins around 35%. The Green Bay Press-Gazette had some of the highest profit margins in the country at well over 40%. 

"How do you get those profit margins? You get that by cutting staff."

The staff cuts keep the papers running on a high level mainly because of the resources behind Gannett's flagship USA TODAY paper, which produces the national and international coverage for all its papers. 

Murphy says a similar model may grow out of the Journal Sentinel's state coverage, which could then feed that news out to other papers - allowing Gannett to trim staff in smaller newsrooms. 

Some other coverage angles for the Journal Sentinel could disappear entirely. 

"JS has a large staff dedicated just to watchdog and investigative journalism," Murphy says,"I have to believe most of that will be lost." 

Murphy stresses that it's still a fair bit of speculation, the bottom line would likely remain the same. 

"It's all about revenue," he says. 

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