Our local paper, the Gilroy Dispatch, has been through a few ownership changes since we arrived in Gilroy nearly seventeen years ago. But in its most recent incarnation under Main Street Media it was for the most part locally controlled and seemed pretty stable. They have been, to my mind, doing a decent if not a stellar job.
So I was surprised when The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club blog reported that Metro Newspapers in San Jose was buying the Gilroy Dispatch and its sister papers in Morgan Hill, Hollister, and Santa Cruz.
I know Metro. I was the first classified advertising manager there when they were a fledgling new alternative newsweekly in 1985. I believe Metro was three months old when I started there. I worked for the publisher, David Cohen, who later split with his partner, Dan Pulcrano, to manage the community newspapers that the company had bought. But Dan was then, has been, and still is at Metro. He was quoted in the blog article and in the story on the Dispatch Web site. The accompanying photo shows less gray hair than I might have expected.
The Gilroy Dispatch is not Metro. I have been reading the former for almost seventeen years. I worked at the latter for one miserable, stomach-churning year before a MFCC shaman investor in Metro in a therapy session (figuratively) waved one hand above and to the right of my eyes while he (metaphorically) punched me in that churning gut with the other fist and thereby made clear to me that I needed to get the hell out of Dodge, or rather out of the Metro office on South First Street in San Jose, next door to what was in those days the Pussycat Theater.
But I digress. Metro is a classic alternative newsweekly. The Gilroy Dispatch is a local community newspaper. I don’t see the fit. Pulcrano says he has experience running community newspapers, which he does, in the form of the Los Gatos Weekly. But unless Dan has changed considerably since 1985, I suspect his heart lies with the alternative news weekly approach.
We’ll see how it works out.