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Newspaper chain to close its office in Macomb

 The McDonough County Voice is in the process of moving out of its office on Macomb’s courthouse square. This photo is from Feb. 9, 2023.
Rich Egger
The McDonough County Voice is in the process of moving out of its office on Macomb’s courthouse square. This photo is from Feb. 9, 2023.

The McDonough County Voice will soon vacate its office on the west side of Macomb’s courthouse square.

A large dumpster was parked outside the newspaper office last month. Garbage cans and boxed up materials can be seen inside the building.

That comes after a round of layoffs last year that gutted remaining news staff at the Voice and other papers in the region.

TSPR emailed the media company Gannett, which owns the Voice and is the largest newspaper chain in the nation.

We asked when its lease for the Macomb office expires, whether it planned to renew the lease, where the office will be located if the lease is not renewed, if there are plans to add local reporting staff, and whether Gannett plans to continue operating the newspaper.

The corporation offered a three-sentence response:

“Gannett has implemented a flexible workplace model for our local newsrooms. Our lease for the McDonough County Voice is set to expire at the end of March, at which time staff will transition to working remote, as many staff currently do. We remain committed to serving our readers and advertisers.”

However, there’s been almost no local coverage for at least six months – no coverage of city council or school board meetings, nothing about other events in the county, and nothing about recent crime.

A review of front pages since the beginning of the year found no locally produced content from Macomb or McDonough County.

The situation with Gannett is not unique to Macomb.

The Galesburg Register Mail currently has no full-time local news staff.

Neither does the Canton Daily Ledger.

The Monmouth Review Atlas has not had local news staff in several years.

Iowa Public Radio reported that Gannett is shrinking much of its physical footprint in Iowa. IPR News confirmed the corporation won’t renew its office leases for the Ames Tribune and the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Those leases expire in April.

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.

Copyright 2023 Tri States Public Radio. To see more, visit Tri States Public Radio.

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”