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Why is this week an "important turning point" for American newspapers?



For changes in local newspapers have an impact on small and large municipalities, from coast to coast and on all points in between.

"This week marks an important turning point in the burgeoning US day-to-day business." News analyst Ken Doctor told me on Tuesday night.

"Over the course of the year and the miserable decade, financial actors have taken control of much of the daily press," Doctor wrote in an e-mail. "This week, GateHouse completed its acquisition of Gannett and created a single company with 256 daily newspapers and 18% of the press, controlled by the PE Fortress Investment Group, and McClatchy is considering late payments in its pension plans, threatening either financial restructuring or bankruptcy. and its principal shareholder and shareholder Chatham Asset Management is behind the wheel. "

And that's not all. On Tuesday afternoon, "Alden Global Capital shocked the industry by buying the quarter of Tribune Publishing, which belongs to the (almost equally despised) ownership group of Michael Ferro."

His point of view: "At a time when local news is needed more than ever, it is the bankers who decide what is defined as news and who are used to report it."

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Kerry Flynn writes: ] Gannett and GateHouse have officially joined forces on Tuesday. Will the merger endanger local journalism? That was my first question when I met with Gannett CEOs Paul Bascobert and Mike Reed at the USA Today office in Midtown Manhattan on Monday. It was blunt, but it is the real fear that media reporters and supporters have been writing about since the deal was announced in August. That's what the employees are talking about.

Bascobert's unbelievable answer was "no." He added, "In the beginning there are some economic problems when two companies are merged, and there are double expenses." So yes?

Reed intervened arguing that more journalistic jobs could be lost if this merger had not materialized.

But it WILL layoffs. Soon. Emily Bloch, reporter for the Florida Times-Union, tweeted a grim TikTok, emphasizing that a FAQ sent to the staff acknowledged the impending cuts. The full FAQ states, "Yes, there will be changes that lead to a reduction in staffing after careful consideration."
It remains to be seen, however, where the cuts are. Reed told me that he had seen overlapping coverage in the reporters' beats, but he imagined these journalists could be "used for other purposes." Here's my whole story …

Come on Wednesday …

Kerry Flynn adds: Changes in Gannett's leadership team are expected to be announced Wednesday. Those responsible would not comment on the matter, although Bascobert commented, "Paid circulation is another key priority for us and you'll see us consolidate under a strong lead in terms of circulation and put so much pressure on it." I will go into the diversity of leadership, especially given the identical gender and ethnicity of Bascobert and Reed …

McClatchy is so "burdensome …"

that McClatchy is so burdened with it. " through pension obligations and debt "that it could, according to analysts, declare bankruptcy within the next year," reported Bloomberg on Monday.
The company's stock, which traded between $ 2 and $ 3, has fallen off the cliff in the past five days. It closed on Tuesday at 40 cents. Doctor has the necessary context in his much-read article on McClatchy …

Tribune employees are up to date

Ferros' sale means that Alden Global Capital – already the controlling shareholder in Digital First Media and his 200 articles – is now the largest shareholder of Tribune Publishing. And this is interpreted by employees of the Tribune newspapers as very bad news. "Alden has a well-established history in which media institutions and journalists have done harm," the Guild of the Chicago Tribune said in a statement .
Nico Savidge of the San Jose Mercury News Guild watches "Reporters in Alden's own newspapers in the Bay Area protested just a few hours before the appearance of the Alden-Tribune news against the eradication of their newsrooms the gloomy payment ". This photo is from the protest.
>> Review of Joe Noceras column on Alden last year: "Imagine Gordon Gekko bought News Empires …"

What now?

"As part of the purchase, Alden is in the process of adding two seats to the six-member board of Tribune Publishing," said Robert Chick of the Chicago Tribune.
Alden's Digital First Media wanted to devour Gannett, but failed. Now a deal with McClatchy seems quite possible. The doctor said last week that "the executives of McClatchy and Tribune are talking about the merger of their two companies."
However, given the events at McClatchy over the past few days, Tribune is more likely to wait for McClatchy's drama and see what comes out of the other side, "wrote Doctor on Tuesday." The idea: Let McClatchy New Bankruptcy organize and clean up the balance sheet through debt reduction. Then merge … "

Conclusion

" There have been some bad days In journalism, this day is particularly noteworthy, "wrote Jon Harris, a business reporter at Tribune's own Morning Call, on Twitter he said in a recent survey by Knight and Gallup that "greater awareness of the financial struggles of local news organizations may increase their willingness to help them stay liquid." And he asked: "Is there a better time than today to familiarize readers with our struggles?"
→ ICYMI: Jennifer Preston of Knight joined me on Sunday on "Reliable Sources" and suggested some optimistic notes … you talked about new structures for local papers like non-profit status and a fundraising program called NewsMatch.org …


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