Announcements were made in the Journal Star and the Rockford Register Star regarding reorganization within GateHouse Media. Paul Gaier was named president and publisher of the Journal Star. However, readers of the Rockford paper were informed Gaier continues as publisher of the Rockford Register Star and The Journal-Standard in Freeport and assumes the added responsibility in Peoria.
He is a commuting publisher.
He was also named president of GateHouse Media’s Illinois operation: 33 publications and 14 daily newspapers.
Perhaps more significant is the background of GateHouse publishers. They generally have degrees in marketing and business administration, not journalism.
GateHouse views newspapers as part of its “Illinois franchise.”
That’s a shift in the role journalism has historically played in democracies. Journalism is referred to the “Fourth Estate” because it plays a foundational role in strengthening democracy and contributing to community well-being.
The GateHouse statement announcing Gaier’s appointment read, “Paul brings a diverse background, a strong track record for growing businesses, driving community conversation and an overall progressive approach to business that will help us grow our Illinois franchise.”