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UPDATE: Gridley's 2 Competing Newspapers

Action News Now's Alan Marsden spoke with neighbors in Gridley about what it's like to have two local newspapers.

Posted: Feb 11, 2019 3:16 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2019 3:23 PM

Just over four months ago, Action News Now reported on the closing of the Gridley Herald.

The town's 140-year-old newspaper, that printed newspapers every Wednesday and Friday, closed last August.

About a month later, Action News Now reported that the Chico Enterprise-Record was going to step in and fill the void by printing a weekly Wednesday newspaper in Gridley.

It turns out there's more to that story, so we wanted to clarify a few things.

In our news report, the station did not intend to state or imply that there was only one newspaper circulating in Gridley. In fact, there were two: The Gridley Herald, published on Fridays by Messenger Publishing, and the Chico Enterprise Record's Wednesday weekly called the "Gridley Hometown News."

Moreover, in the middle of our reporting, we learned new facts and made efforts to clarify the news reports in a manner that may have been confusing to our viewers. In reporting that the Chico Enterprise-Record was taking over the revamp of the Gridley Herald, we were speaking figuratively not literally.

Action News Now did not intend to imply that the Chico Enterprise-Record's Wednesday weekly paper, called the Gridley Hometown News, was Gridley's only weekly newspaper or that it had taken over the Gridley Herald itself. We apologize if we caused any confusion about the ownership our names of these competing newspapers.

Now, four and a half months later, we wanted to know what the people of Gridley thought of now having two local newspapers.

Alan Marsden of Action News Now visited Gridley to find out.

GRIDLEY, Calif. - To many, Gridley is a town that we might pass through on Highway 99 between Chico and Yuba City, but to the 6,700 people who live there, it's their own little piece of heaven.

"It's just a small town," said Cathy Mills, a life-long resident of Gridley. "A lot of community involvement, a lot of churches, a lot of organizations."

Mills has lived in Gridley for her whole life, serving as the Chamber of Commerce Treasurer, and is a loyal Gridley Herald subscriber.
"It's a way of letting the community know what's going on with our local clubs," she said. "The city council, police department, fire, and what's going on in our small community of Gridley, Biggs, Live Oak."

When the Gridley Herald's owner, Gatehouse Media, announced last August that it was shutting the Gridley Herald Down for financial reasons, many were stunned by the announcement.

"It's just a sinking feeling," Mills said. "It's part of the community and I hated to see it go."

Mills wasn't the only one that felt this way.

"When I heard the newspaper was closing, I was just heartbroken," said Margaret Desmond Hughes, a resident in Gridley.

Hughes is active in the community and felt the need for a continuing local voice.

"I wanted very quickly to find some way that there would be news in this town," Hughes said. "I look around and our town is slowly deteriorating and I couldn't stand the thought of that."

Then, almost as quickly as the news came that the Gridley Herald was shutting down, word came that Messenger Publishing Group had purchased the Herald.

But many wondered whether the paper would be the same.

"At the beginning, there was not a lot of local news," Mills said. "Now there is more. They seem to be picking up more local things so I'm happy about that."

One of the biggest changes that the community had to get used to was the fact that the paper was only going to be published by Messenger Publishing Group on Fridays. There would no longer be a Wednesday edition.

However, in October, the Chico Enterprise-Record began publishing the Gridley Hometown News every Wednesday.

"I think the different perspectives are good," Mills said. "We have two different types of writers for each of the newspapers, so they are picking up some of the same things and some different things."

Overall, readers seemed to be happy with the changes.

"It's sometimes good to have a little competition and get a little better," Hughes said.

With newspapers large and small folding across the country, readers are grateful for this reprieve.

"Times are changing," Mills said. "We're adapting. We're just happy here in Gridley, Biggs and Live Oak that we have a local paper that is going to keep the cohesiveness of our community."

Editor's Note: In a previous news report, Action News Now referred to the Chico Enterprise-Record's Wednesday newspaper as the "The Gridley News," but we have since clarified that the full name of the Wednesday paper is the "The Gridley Hometown News."


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