Because changes in local newspapers, after all, have ramifications for large and small communities, from coast to coast and all the points in between.
"This week marks a major turning point in the already rough American daily business," news industry analyst Ken Doctor said Tuesday night.
"As the year and the sad decade, close, economic players have taken control of much of the daily press," the doctor wrote in an email. "This week, GateHouse closed the acquisition of Gannett and created a single company with 256 diaries and 18% of the press – and it is controlled by PE Fortress Investment Group. McClatchy, looking at default on its pension plan obligations, is facing either financial restructuring or bankruptcy ̵
1; and the most important shareholder and co-owner Chatham Asset Management is in the driver's seat. "
And that's not all. On Tuesday afternoon, the industry's biting noire shocked the Alden Global Capital industry by buying out the quarterly share of Tribune Publishing owned by (almost as scorned) ownership group Michael Ferro, "wrote Doctor.
His point:" At a time when local news is needed more than anyone Once again, it is the bankers who decide what should be defined as news and who will be hired to report it. "
The New Gannett
Kerry Flynn writes: Gannett and GateHouse were officially combined on Tuesday. Will the merger cause local journalism to suffer? That was my first question when I met Gannett ex Paul Bascobert and Mike Reed in USA Today's Midtown Manhattan office on Monday, which was dull, but that's the real fear media reporters and advocates have been writing about ever since the deal was announced in August. That's what employees
Bascoberts hard-to-believe answer was "No." He elaborated, "Basically, there are some finances associated with combining two companies together. That is duplication of spending. "So … Yes?
Reed jumped in to claim that if this merger had not come through, more journalist jobs could be lost.
But it would be
layoffs. Soon Florida Times-Union reporter Emily Bloch tweeted
a gloomy TikTok, emphasizing that a common question sent to staff acknowledged the impending cuts. The full FAQ says "Yes, there will be changes which will mean a reduction in our workforce after thoughtful review. "
But it remains to be seen where the cuts may fall. Reed said he saw some overlapping coverage in journalists' blows, but he imagined that journalists could be" redistributed to others. things here. "Here's my full story …
Coming Wednesday …
Kerry Flynn adds: Changes to Gannett's management team are expected to be announced on Wednesday.Don't comment on the case for me, although Bascobert noted, "Paid circulation is another important priority for us. You will see us consolidate under a strong leader around the circulation and push so hard. "I will look at the diversity of leadership, especially given the identical gender and ethnicity of Bascobert and Reed …
McClatchy is so" weighed down .. "
McClatchy is so" burdened with pension obligations and debt "that it" could file for bankruptcy within the next year, "analysts reported," Bloomberg reported Monday.
The company's stock, which had traded between $ 2 and $ 3, has fallen off a cliff in the last five days, closing at $ 0.40 on Tuesday, and the doctor has all the necessary context in his much-read piece about McClatchy here …
Tribune staff is recently on edge
Ferro's sale means that Alden Global Capital – already the controlling shareholder of Digital First Media and its 200 papers – is now Tribune Publishing's largest shareholder, and this is interpreted as very bad news by Tribune papers. "Alden has a well-established history of hurting media institutions and journalists," the Chicago Tribune's guild said in a statement
Nico Savidge of the San Jose Mercury News Guild observed
that "reporters at Alden-owned papers in the Bay area protested against the scrapping of their newsroom and gloomy pay" just a few hours before the Alden Tribune- the news hit. This image
is from the protest.
>> Flashback to Joe Nocera & # 39; s column about Alden last year: "Imagine if Gordon Gekko bought news releases …"
"As part of the acquisition, Alden is in discussions about adding two seats to Tribune Publishing's six-member board," reported Chicago Tribunes Robert Channick.
Alden's Digital First Media wanted to turn off Gannett, but failed. Now it seems that a deal with McClatchy is quite possible. Doctor told last week that "McClatchy and Tribune executives are talking about merging their two companies."
However, given what happened to McClatchy's stock in recent days, "the Tribune seems more likely to wait for McClatchy's drama and see what comes out on the other side," the doctor wrote Tuesday. "The idea: Let McClatchy clear himself, even through bankruptcy, and clean up the balance by clearing debt. Then merge …"
"There have been some bad days in journalism, but this day is particularly remarkable, "wrote Jon Harris, a business reporter at Tribune-owned Morning Call,
on Twitter. He cited Knight and Gallup's recent survey, which said "greater awareness of the financial struggles of local news organizations may lead to a greater willingness to help them stay solvent." And he asked, "Is there a better time than today to make readers familiar with our struggles?"
→ ICYMI: Knight's Jennifer Preston joined me on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" and made some optimistic notes … She talked about new local newspaper structures, such as ideal status, and a donation program called NewsMatch.org …