Watching the worthless watchdog

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Former newspaperman Jim Hopkins does an outstanding job of keeping tabs on the evil empire of journalism, aka Gannett Corp., through his Gannett Blog.

Gannett is the largest US newspaper publisher based on circulation and its properties include USAToday, the Greenville (SC) News and WLTX-TV in Columbia, SC.

Long before other media chains began putting profits before journalism, Gannett was gutting franchises, chopping jobs and making a mockery of the established traditions of the Fourth Estate.

Hopkins, however, has been shining a light on the nefarious workings of Gannett since January 2008, much to the displeasure of the chain’s bigwigs, used to doing as they pleased without interference. 

One can just picture the addle-minded corporate bean counters at Gannett clenching the fists in impotent rage as they peruse Hopkins’ reports, unable to quash the flow of bad news his blog uncovers on a daily basis.

One of Hopkins’ secrets is his strikingly strong network of Gannett employees, willing to feed him information and documents, reminiscent of Cold War-era Russians willing to subvert the hated Soviet regime by passing secret information to the outside world.

In this post here, for example, Hopkins does an outstanding job of assessing Gannett’s current and future position, and it ain’t pretty.

The sad thing is, Hopkins’ blog is necessary because Gannett has long made a career of utterly obfuscating any negative news about itself. Bad circulation numbers? Sweep them under the rug. Accused of questionable advertising practices? Bring in the lawyers and have everything sealed. Wholesale employee turnover? Ignore it completely.

The watchdogs need a watchdog and that’s what’s Hopkins is doing, and doing well.

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