Hussman’s Times Free Press in Tennessee News-sharing Agreement

From Editor & Publisher this afternoon, word that the Chattanooga Times Free Press, owned by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman, is among four Tennessee newspapers in a new news-sharing agreement:

Tennessee’s four largest daily papers began content sharing on Wednesday, according to an internal memo from Knoxville News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy that stated “all agreed that readers would be best served if the papers found ways to eliminate duplicate effort and share content of interest throughout the state.”

A source at the paper indicated the sharing began Wednesday.

In addition to the Scripps’ owned News Sentinel, those also sharing include Scripps’ Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Gannett’s The Tennessean of Nashville, and the locally owned Chattanooga Times Free Press.

According to a memo about the plan, the four papers met and determined that “readers would be best served if the papers found ways to eliminate duplicate effort and share content of interest throughout the state.” (You can see the full memo here.)

News-sharing agreements like this are becoming more common as newspapers around the country seek efficiencies and ways to cut costs as advertising and readership drops in a dicey economic climate.

The McClatchy-owned Fort Worth Star-Telegram (which last week learned of more buyouts and layoffs) and the Belo-owned Dallas Morning News have a content-sharing agreement, which includes some sports coverage.

So add content-sharing to the growing list of cost-cutting methods in place at Hussman’s Wehco media company, a list that also includes layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts.

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