Photo Business News & Forum and Gannett Blog have reported the Gannett/US Presswire deal, but it hasn't officially been announced -- until now. Gannett corporate communications vice president Robin Pence confirmed the acquisition to me. "We did acquire US Presswire and it will reside in our sports group," she says in an email. "We did not issue a release."

Gannett Blog's Jim Hopkins notes that US Presswire contracts with scores of freelance sports photographers, many of whom work on spec, with no promise of getting paid, and "that allows it to sell images at bargain-basement prices. Gannett has been turning to more low-cost content syndicates over the past year."

From the Photo Business News & Forum comments section:

I'm a photographer at a Gannett paper who was instructed not to talk about the Presswire deal. We are as uncertain of the future and what this deal means as the US Presswire photographers probably are. Does this mean Gannett will stop using AP & Getty and rely exclusively on Presswire for wire sports? And use it to renegotiate lower rates? Does it mean Gannett papers will no longer contribute sports photos to the AP wire and now market them through Presswire, competing with the Presswire photographers?

Gannett's motive could be even more nefarious. Once the Presswire deal is concluded, Gannett will have a large roster of reliable freelancers at its disposal. Will they start to use them to replace staffers. If they will take $100 to work a football game maybe they'll take $25 to do a community back to school assignment? Again, much cheaper than sending a staffer.

The deal is also being discussed at Sportsshooter.com.