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Newspaper in western Illinois to cease publication

Prairie Review-03 (2).jpg
Rich Egger

Following layoffs at multiple Gannett-owned newspapers in the region, one newspaper is ceasing publication this week.

The Prairie Review covered Abingdon, Avon, Oquawka, Roseville, and Saint Augustine.

Gannett sent a notice to subscribers stating that the final print edition will be Thursday, September 15. The notice said any remaining balance on subscriptions will be refunded via check within six weeks.

The paper did not have a website.

Gannett is the nation’s largest newspaper chain. It announced layoffs a month ago after losing millions of dollars in the second quarter.

The chain declined to release layoff details, but Poynter reported the company laid off 400 workers and eliminated 400 open positions, and Iowa Public Radio reported on cuts at The Hawk Eye in Burlington.

Tri States Public Radio asked Gannett for details about layoffs at this region’s papers, which include The Hawk Eye, The McDonough County Voice, and The Galesburg Register Mail. Gannett also operates The Canton Daily Ledger, The Monmouth Review Atlas, and The Peoria Journal Star in this region.

The company’s response, attributable to Lark-Marie Antón, Gannett Chief Communications Officer:

"We've been transparent about the need to evolve our operations and cost structure in line with our growth strategy while also needing to take swift action given the challenging economic environment. These staffing reductions are incredibly difficult, and we are grateful for the contributions of our departing colleagues." 

Out of deep respect for our colleagues, there is no further comment. 

TSPR nonetheless did ask for further comment.

We suggested Gannett owed it to their print and online audiences to explain how many journalists remain at their local newspapers:

“Don’t your paying customers deserve that level of transparency? Don’t the communities that have supported and depended on these publications for decades deserve to know what’s happened to their local newspapers?”

Gannett did not respond.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.