Florida’s Gannett Papers Ignore Nikki Fried’s Financial Disclosure Story

Florida’s Gannett Papers Ignore Nikki Fried’s Financial Disclosure Story

If you get your news from a Gannett Corporation owned news source you did not read about Nikki Fried’s discovery of $350,000 in income she failed to report in 2017 and 2018 as required by law.

Fried amended her financial disclosure forms three days before her gubernatorial campaign announcement, as first reported by Tallahassee Reports.

A quick google search reveals that as of June 4, the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, FloridaPolitics.com, Tallahassee Reports, and Politico-Florida were the only Florida news outlets to cover the story.

How could this happen?

In 2019, a $1.4 billion merger between Gannett and GateHouse Media put 20 daily newspapers under one owner. The merger was a seen as a blow to journalism.

“I think it’s going to have devastating effects,” says Jennifer Proffitt, a professor and the director of the School of Communication at Florida State University. 

Penny Muse Abernathy, a former executive at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times who is now the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, told the the Tampa Bay Times in 2019 the seeing Gannett put publishers in place for multiple newspapers has not been encouraging.

“One of the things that concerns me about chains that are very, very large is that they tend to manage properties in the same way. That reduces the flexibility of someone on the ground to respond to a unique need or unique expectations of the audience and the businesses in that town. You can do it, but you need to have a really loud voice,” said Abernathy.

Her concerns are reflected in the lack of coverage of the Fried story.

The Gannett papers that serve significant population centers and have yet to report on the Fried story include the Palm Beach Post, Florida Times -Union (Jacksonville), Tallahassee Democrat, Herald Tribune (Sarasota), Gainesville Sun, The Ledger (Lakeland), The News-Press (Fort Myers), Florida Today (Brevard County), Panama City News Herald, Pensacola News Journal, Daytona Beach News Journal, and the Ocala Star Banner.

Is the lack of coverage of the Fried story a lack editorial flexibility, political bias, or both?

19 Responses to "Florida’s Gannett Papers Ignore Nikki Fried’s Financial Disclosure Story"

  1. This is hardly news. More interested to know why GQP is not addressing spying on Americans just because Trump was President. Amazing how nothing has changed with that party since Nixon. Just as corrupt today as 50 years ago.

  2. I worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and they are as biased as hell. Not the way you’d expect though. For example- They panned Lawton Chiles (D) as a hillbilly (he was a beloved Governor.) But then JEB! get elected and they LOVE him. Why? Because he was sitting on the board of Knight Ridder who owned the Democrat.

    It has not changed in twenty odd years since Gannett took over. They were from Chicago- Obama’s home town ,and they fawned and pandered to him like he was Pharaoh. Then Trump got elected and they have since descended into TDS in the worst way. i am embarrassed for their bias now.

  3. Thanks, Hope!
    There is a reason for my digital resurrection today, but disclosure would be imprudent.
    And Steve forgot to mention the Naples Daily News in his list above. They are also a Gannett paper, and have not reported on Nikki Weed’s financial forgetfulness. There’s only 4 metro-sized papers that I know of left in the entire state – Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa Bay (St. Pete) that are not owned by the Evil Empire. This monopolization, as Abernathy and Proffitt note above, is a terrible thing for Floridians – it has predictably resulted in the equivalent end-product to state-run media in Russia, Venezuela or China.

    I agree that she could be disbarred over this, because it’s been a recurring pattern for her.

  4. What a miraculous and blessed day that News Maven has returned! By popular demand no less!

    Not only are you on the list for a book, News Maven, the book will be dedicated to you!

  5. The Maven alerted y’all many years ago to a shady financial scheme Gannett was employing to shed employees by raiding the state’s taxpayer-funded unemployment compensation program, which is funded by your taxes. When Gabordi started making longtime employees “walk the plank” he offered them a buyout. For example, a 20-year employee might have been offered a $20K package to leave, if they would just “sign the paperwork.”

    HOWEVER, a portion of those buyouts was coming from the state’s unemployment compensation coffers! They were NOT 100% Gannett-funded. So, you partially paid for Gannett to downsize. (Hey small business-owners, have you ever gotten the state to fund your mismanagement screw-ups? Of course not.)

    He wasn’t the only one doing this – it was done at Pensacola, Fla. Today, Ft. Myers – likely Gannett-wide in other states where this loophole could be advantaged.

    For example, if they could get the state to fund $8,000 UC dollars of the $20,000 in the example above, they only had to cough up $12,000. The problem is, buyouts are designed for people retiring and UC is designed for people who want to return to work! How this is not criminal is beyond my comprehension.

    I know this was going on around 2015-16, because someone I know who WAS retiring refused to sign the paperwork because she/he was not going to look for a job and thought it was fraud. I would love to see AG Moody file a discovery process with state records (which they possess) and if proven, file charges against Gannett and fine them millions of dollars for their financial shenanigans. (And/or sentencing any of Gannett’s enablers to prison, which would be icing on the cake.)

    Hey Hope, put me down for your book pre-sale as #1 on the list!

  6. Fake news reads this publication they share it and Charlie Crist is relishing in it that it is not him, but his opponent in the hot seat. Everyone reads this publication! Good job, TR!

    But the powers that be no pun intended when a ethics report is filed on one of the state’s cabinet members to ignore it is irresponsible journalism and corruption in and of itself. If they want to operate on evilness it is in God’s hands and we can only control what we do… and that we do not participate in evil ourselves.

    Anyway it will be interesting to see who will the first entity to break out of the evilness and do their job and report on this?

  7. A quick check of the 2 major television “news” websites, WCTV & WTXL, indicates they have no interest in reporting negative NIKKI WEED news.
    Steve could step up to a new local television news channel. WTRT for Tallahassee Reports Truth.

    1. That was from 2020 and is related to a campaign report not Fried’s amendment of her financial disclosure reports last month.

  8. @Rosemary,

    It is a little disconcerting that you are condoning a cover-up. It should have been Front Page News on the Tallahassee Democrat this morning. Hopefully Newsmax will pick it up soon. That is where the masses seem to be at the moment anyway. Have a nice day!

  9. I think we’re way past the point whereby we can dismiss journalistic malfeasance as simply oversight or bias… or trying to soften it with claims of professional patience and integrity, or the need to fact check first. It’s pure nonsense, and everyone knows it.

    Save for a few media platforms, to include this one… the state of American journalism is utterly pathetic. They are morally bankrupt, unapologetically biased, and unimpeachably corrupt. I refer to them as Media PACs because they have abandoned all concepts of their true mission, purpose, and importance… and have become nothing more than Political Action Committees masquerading as Media outlets with both malicious and nefarious intentions. Their intentional and purposeful malfeasance has and continues to cause serious, if not irrevocable, damage to millions of weak and impressionable minds now addicted to chaos, lies, slander, and hate… all for their lust of a depraved and dangerous ideological dominance.

    I have and continue to say it without apologies, and with intimate understanding… today’s American Mainstream Media and the Woke Supremacy movement IS the true existential threat that faces this Great Nation. They are a threat to our Democracy, our National Security, our individual safety, our sovereignty, our Constitutional existence, and the very future our our Republic.

    You can cancel me, ban me, shadow ban me, suspend me, or imprison me… and you most certainly and thankfully have the right (for now anyway) to disagree with me. But we had better face this reality soon, or be culpable in and willing to accept the results of our apathy and indifference. There; I’ve said my peace.

    May God continue to bless and protect America and Her People.

  10. Dennis Barton: When I read the Tallahassee Reports coverage I went to public records (the documents referred to in the TR article) and spent an hour trying to prove the statements, without success (not that I found anything that disproved them either). It is possible that a trustworthy news organization has to do more fact checking (which isn’t easy with the manpower shortages at newspapers these days, and with the public records laws protecting public officials and their families, and with all of the different organizational structures available) before being comfortable printing the story. I’m all for more than “gotcha” journalism. I’d given them more than a couple of weeks before declaring that they AREN’T PRINTING because of political bias or any other nefarious purpose.

  11. It’s called Gabordism, asleep at the wheel, sweeping it under the rug, and down right bias. I’m writing the book on one of the biggest stories that would have been. Florida news and they just ignored it..

    And Rosica is at the top of the list because he could have made a right turn, but he made the biggest wrong turn of the century regarding ignoring the news story where Humanity was lost because one reporter didn’t do his job. I’ll be taking presales soon when it is all exposed. Have a nice day!

  12. I think there may be another reason for lack of coverage…integrity. I would seriously question the professional integrity of William Hatfield, Executive Editor for keeping either James Call, Capitol Reporter or Bill Cotterell, Political Writer from covering this story.. You want to think your local newspaper will report the news, good or bad, but that certainly is not the case here. Which is why I have not read the Tallahassee Democrat in years and will continue to not read it..

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