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For Sale -- Mostly Second-Rate Newspapers
The Wall Street Journal ^ | Nov 19, 2005 | John Ellis

Posted on 11/20/2005 2:53:55 PM PST by abb

On Nov. 1, Private Capital Management LP, a large shareholder in numerous newspaper companies, wrote to the management of Knight Ridder asking that the nation's second largest newspaper chain "aggressively pursue the competitive sale of the company." Two days later, two other large shareholders seconded the motion. Shortly thereafter, Knight Ridder announced that it had decided to "explore" alternatives, "including a possible sale of the company."

It is axiomatic on Wall Street that bear markets beget consolidation. The bear market in the newspaper industry should foretell a spate of mergers and acquisitions. But what if there are no buyers? This is the question that looms over Knight Ridder. Companies that might reasonably be expected to jump at the opportunity to acquire Knight Ridder, like Gannett and the New York Times, have expressed zero interest. New media companies -- Yahoo! and Google -- weren't even called for comment. In the end, it was left to a few Wall Street talking heads to announce interest, which they did by insisting that "big private equity firms" would be the likely buyers, if only to acquire the whole at a discount and then sell off the parts for a gain.

This lack of enthusiasm for a company once regarded as a money machine is evidence of how thoroughly the Internet has disrupted media business models. And with broadband now reaching into more than half of U.S. households, disruption has morphed into menace.

Knight Ridder has been publishing mostly second-rate newspapers for as long as anyone can remember. Its strategy has been straightforward: Leverage de facto monopoly newspaper status in individual cities into ownership of the classified advertising business in those communities. With high-speed broadband and wireless access now a fact for most Americans, consumers are no longer at the mercy of second-rate information providers.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ccrm; deadtreemedia; knightridder; msm; newspapers; tiredoldmedia
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More news on the demise of the ToM (Tired old Media)
1 posted on 11/20/2005 2:53:56 PM PST by abb
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To: abb

The OSM (old stream media) is history (liberal print rags) and they know it.


2 posted on 11/20/2005 2:55:26 PM PST by Buffettfan
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To: abb; Landru; ForGod'sSake; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; Copernicus; Mr. Mulliner; thesummerwind; ...

Well FReepers..... put your money where your mouth is.

How much can we raise to buy Knight Ridder?


3 posted on 11/20/2005 2:57:09 PM PST by bert (K.E. ; N.P . Remember the Maine, Remember the Alamo..... Remember Murtha)
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To: abb

"ToM (Tired old Media)"

I LIKE it!


4 posted on 11/20/2005 2:58:00 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: hsalaw

I can't take credit for that acronym. Backhoe coined it...


5 posted on 11/20/2005 2:58:37 PM PST by abb (Because News Reporting is too important to be left to the Journalists.)
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To: abb
Was going to pick up a Sunday Chicago Trib today because all the Christmas sale papers are in it, I think, if I remember right. Haven't gotten a paper for a zillion years. My 8 year old daughters says "what's in a newspaper mom?"
6 posted on 11/20/2005 3:01:44 PM PST by Esther Ruth (I have loved thee with an EVERLASTING LOVE, Jeremiah 31:3 Genesis 12:1-3 ***ZECH 12:3)
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To: bert

Not a bad idea bert. Switch all the liberal slant to conservative; buy it lock stock and barrel for 80 cents of book. If we could raise 10 % of the price, I could probably
broker/dealer the balance!


7 posted on 11/20/2005 3:02:24 PM PST by calrighty (. Troops BTTT)
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To: abb

Well, somebody needs to buy it!

What will we do for fish wrap? And how will we line the bottoms of birdcages?

This could be tragic!!!!


8 posted on 11/20/2005 3:03:32 PM PST by TomGuy
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To: abb

You just can't trust what the m.s.m says. Add to that you are led by the nose by liberal anti bush anti American writers pushing the gay&lesbian,prochoice,antimilitary,crap.
So you just don't purchase the Times or Post or the local little town rag anymore.


9 posted on 11/20/2005 3:03:44 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: hsalaw

CORRECTION: T.O.M. stands for "Trotskyite Old Media."


10 posted on 11/20/2005 3:04:02 PM PST by TimeLord (A whale fetus is a whale; a human fetus is a blob.)
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To: abb
Knight Ridder?


11 posted on 11/20/2005 3:06:19 PM PST by frankjr
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To: TimeLord

Even better!


12 posted on 11/20/2005 3:06:34 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: abb
With high-speed broadband and wireless access now a fact for most Americans, consumers are no longer at the mercy of second-rate information providers...More news on the demise of the ToM (Tired old Media :)

ToM is the right description of The Lexington Hearld-(mis)Leader, It isn't worth a Tinkers' D@mn.

13 posted on 11/20/2005 3:16:43 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :^)
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To: abb
The Knight Ridder papers are Exhibit A when it comes to "a bad idea, done poorly (and cheaply)".

It is a chain full of papers that richly deserve to die.

14 posted on 11/20/2005 3:17:09 PM PST by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: abb
This is terrible.

What shall we now do for something useless and eminently disposable to put under our cat-litter boxes, especially when we enjoy the heck out of doing it?

15 posted on 11/20/2005 3:18:14 PM PST by Gritty ("Dems want a firm withdrawl date coinciding with the handover of the Great Satan's cojones-Mk Steyn)
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To: okie01

I really feel kinda guilty. I'm having too much fun watching the bas#ards die...


16 posted on 11/20/2005 3:19:04 PM PST by abb (Because News Reporting is too important to be left to the Journalists.)
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To: bert

Sold my stock a while back. Looks like a total turkey. Might better invest in GM.


17 posted on 11/20/2005 3:20:43 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: Gritty

"What shall we now do for something useless and eminently disposable to put under our cat-litter boxes, especially when we enjoy the heck out of doing it?"

The NYT would be delighted to sell you a subscription to their rag for next to nothing. I live in California and keep getting ads from them to subscribe for pennies. They must be hard up. I keep sending them back their ads in their pre-paid envelopes saying I wouldn't have their tripe in my house if THEY paid ME.


18 posted on 11/20/2005 3:21:25 PM PST by hsalaw
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To: Esther Ruth

We have a Gannett paper here in Monroe, La. We cancelled our subscription several years ago.

The money for the subscription will pay for about 1/2 of cable internet costs and we can read their two bit newspaper online for free.


19 posted on 11/20/2005 3:25:32 PM PST by cajun-jack
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To: abb
Its strategy has been straightforward: Leverage de facto monopoly newspaper status in individual cities into ownership of the classified advertising business in those communities.

How does this differ from Gannett's strategy?

20 posted on 11/20/2005 3:30:09 PM PST by Dont Mention the War (Pirro '06 - Save New York!)
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To: Dont Mention the War

It's the same. Gannett is just a little more intense with their advertising sales...


21 posted on 11/20/2005 3:36:12 PM PST by abb (Because News Reporting is too important to be left to the Journalists.)
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To: abb

Come on Rupert. Buy these papers and turn them around like you did with the NY Post.


22 posted on 11/20/2005 3:41:50 PM PST by LdSentinal
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To: Owl_Eagle; brityank; Physicist; WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; GOPJ; abner; baseballmom; Willie Green; Mo1; ..

Nobody-reads-the-Inquirer ping


23 posted on 11/20/2005 3:43:19 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: abb; BlackElk

When I was a youngster ('70's), I was a paperboy, and I eagerly read the comics in the Morning Record and New Haven Register (afternoon). Sometimes I would even buy the best SUnday comics in the universe, the Sunday Boston Herald. As I got older, I started reading the editorials, sports, and news sections.

Now, I have my own children, and the comics section is not fit reading. Even family strips like "For Better or Worse" explore topics (shacking up and homosexuality) that I will not be exposing my children to, and certainly without their slant. The regular news section and especially the "lifestyle" type sections are not fit to have around children, either. I haven't subscribed to a newspaper in ten years (after having TWO separate subscriptions). The odds of any of my children subscribing to the local newspapers when full-grown is next to nil. I am sure I am not alone.


24 posted on 11/20/2005 3:46:40 PM PST by sittnick (There's no salvation in politics.)
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To: hsalaw
The NYT would be delighted to sell you a subscription to their rag for next to nothing...

Yes, I know. Our "local" paper is owned by the NYT and runs the NYT articles on the front page.

Today's top-of-the-fold headline reads, Session Exposes GOP's Risks and goes on and on for many column-inches about what a disaster the Friday Night House vote was for the GOP and Bush and how the Dims are surging back. There is no real news, but plenty of DNC talking points are printed.

Worthless rag. I quit my subscription months ago but they still keep bugging me. Why pay for DNC talking points, columns by Paul Krugman, and endless Letters to the Editor on "Bush Lied" and "Dirty Administration Caught in Scandal" letters?

*PPHHTTOUEYY!*

25 posted on 11/20/2005 3:47:10 PM PST by Gritty ("Watergate babies plan to finish as they started-in betrayal and national dishonor-Tony Blankley)
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To: Joe Boucher

I dropped subscription to the local rag way back in the day of the Queer March on Washington when I got on my doorstep an entire thicker-than-normal edition devoted from page 1 to page last to the wonderfulness of being homosexual. This is a self proclaimed "Libertarian" newspaper that publishes almost all stock left opinion plus Walter Williams.


26 posted on 11/20/2005 4:02:44 PM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: abb

The stockholders at these creaky old papers need to raise hell. Newspapers are a tough enough sell in these days of illiteracy without the editorial staff making it even harder by embracing a worn-out, discredited ideology. Publishers need to hold their senior editors to account, and those editors need to reinstate the time-tested values of objectivity, detachment, and "news you can use" instead of "news that uses you."


27 posted on 11/20/2005 4:32:26 PM PST by IronJack
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To: IronJack

No doubt some of the shareholders are doing just that. They're selling, as evidenced by the decline of the stock price.

And just think of the damage being done to the employee's 401k accounts.

I really feel sorry for them. Really, I do...


28 posted on 11/20/2005 4:35:32 PM PST by abb (Because News Reporting is too important to be left to the Journalists.)
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To: abb
In Silicon Valley a skyscraper was put up with the Knight-Ridder logo on the top around 2000. A couple of years ago, the logo was removed. Perhaps K-R overbuilt during the dot com boom...
29 posted on 11/20/2005 4:37:09 PM PST by SteveH (First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.)
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To: abb
Yet they would rather drive these venerable journalistic enterprises into the ground than give up their elitist biases. All you hear is denial, justification, absurd conspiracy theories, and laughable "solutions" that are doomed to fail from the outset.

Nobody is willing to talk about the 2-ton elephant standing in the middle of the room: newspapers are failing because people don't want to read them. People don't want to read them because they are hostile to mainstream values. There is no perceived value in a news vehicle that lies or distorts the truth, and little moral validity in enriching someone who despises you.

30 posted on 11/20/2005 4:40:28 PM PST by IronJack
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To: bert
How much can we raise to buy Knight Ridder?

Heck bert, who wants 'em? I'll throw in a shovel full of dirt after words are said over 'em. Like I've said before, this revoltin' development is breakin' my heart. Really.

Whistle while you work.... ;^)

FGS

31 posted on 11/20/2005 5:01:22 PM PST by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: calrighty

I tell you what...you make this deal, and I'll gladly sign on as a writer with one of the papers in question. As a freelance writer I'd never be interested in waging the daily uphill battle of working for a lefty fishwrap, but helping to establish the new editorial party line...that I could handle.


32 posted on 11/20/2005 5:04:40 PM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: abb

Minus the comics and the crosswords, most papers would fail within 6 mo. They vastly overrate themselves in the propaganda dept. actually.


33 posted on 11/20/2005 5:05:19 PM PST by Waco
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To: Oberon

I am calling my guy at Merrill Lynch Capital tomorrow
and try to get a target price on this chain. If it was converted to conservative it could survive, minus some trimming.


34 posted on 11/20/2005 5:10:06 PM PST by calrighty (. Troops BTTT)
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To: Waco

Yes if they are left wing rags, but how many conservative papers have failed?


35 posted on 11/20/2005 5:10:55 PM PST by calrighty (. Troops BTTT)
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To: abb

I weep for you the walrus said, I deeply sympathize.......................................


36 posted on 11/20/2005 5:12:42 PM PST by calrighty (. Troops BTTT)
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To: TomGuy

I do need some newsprint to light the charcoal in my little chimney lighter...


37 posted on 11/20/2005 5:34:13 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: All
Suggestion: Faced with the inevitable sales of the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer (what follows the loss of intelligence? you'll find it here) -- don't buy. I wouldn't buy fish wrapped in this stuff (too toxic), and if I had birds I wouldn't line their cages with it. I don't even honor it as woodstove lighter; when they trash my newspaper with a "sample" it goes straight to landfill. Unopened.

When I want to read fiction I buy a novel. Not a newspaper.

38 posted on 11/20/2005 5:54:26 PM PST by sionnsar (†trad-anglican.faithweb.com† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
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To: bert
How much can we raise to buy Knight Ridder?

If there's no other bids on the table, we can low ball...

39 posted on 11/20/2005 7:31:23 PM PST by GOPJ (Frenchmen should ask immigrants "Do you want to be Frenchmen?" not, "Will you work cheap?")
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To: bert

Stopped service to both local papers last yr and don't miss it a bit. I can even get the death notices on the internet for my area (that;s all I looked at anyhow,lol)


40 posted on 11/20/2005 7:40:42 PM PST by estrogen (I)
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To: abb

These folks at Knight Ridder are smart to want to bail while they still may get some value. The question is, who's the sucker who will BUY?? (Caveat: Possibly Murdoch or somebody like him can come along and get rid of all the liberal deadwood in the newsrooms and editorial boards and actually boost circulation.)


41 posted on 11/20/2005 7:46:16 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Gritty
Why pay for DNC talking points,

That's what I tell the Arizona Republic every time they call asking me to try their paper. I just say "Why should I buy the paper when I can get the DNC talking points directly from their website for free?"

42 posted on 11/20/2005 8:00:42 PM PST by McGavin999 (Reporters write the truth, Journalists write stories.)
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To: Lancey Howard

No, what actually needs to happen is to have a lot of little local people buy up the local papers and turn them into local news with a small section on national and world politics that is meticulously unbiased.


43 posted on 11/20/2005 8:05:59 PM PST by McGavin999 (Reporters write the truth, Journalists write stories.)
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To: calrighty
...but how many conservative papers have failed?

An excellent question that deserves some serious treatment IMO. To begin with, I don't know of a major metro area that still has a "conservative" paper. If memory serves(and it may not), up until the late 70's - early 80's, most major metro areas still had at least two competing dailies; each with their own "slant". The conservative leaning dailies still around then either began to fail or were acquired(not sure which) by and consolidated into the liberal rag.

Now, how and why this came about I haven't a clue. There are any number of reasons, or combination or reasons, why this could have happened; none of which I've ever seen discussed in any serious format. The reasons can run from mundane to tinfoil hat stuff, but the bottom line is the leftist media apparently outperformed(by hook or crook) conservative media. It might be instructive to get to the bottom of it, eh?

FGS

44 posted on 11/20/2005 9:31:29 PM PST by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: SteveH
a skyscraper was put up with the Knight-Ridder logo on the top

Many skyscrapers lease out the sign rights to anyone who wants to pay the price. Knight-Ridder may have rented it to prop up their image but might not have had any office space in the building.

45 posted on 11/20/2005 9:37:00 PM PST by Reeses
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To: Lancey Howard

Or Murdoch and a few partners. This could get quite interesting.


46 posted on 11/20/2005 9:37:35 PM PST by calrighty (. Troops BTTT)
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To: Reeses

Correct


47 posted on 11/20/2005 9:38:00 PM PST by calrighty (. Troops BTTT)
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To: sittnick

The comics are lame, lame, lame. I used to love reading the comics. I was in the doctor's office and ended up reading a newspaper, and the stuff was awful. They used to be funny.


48 posted on 11/20/2005 9:39:01 PM PST by Richard Kimball (Tenure is the enemy of excellence.)
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To: bert; Liz; BOBTHENAILER; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fintan

Why would we want to buy second rate fishwraps which no one wants to buy?

"Knight Ridder has been publishing mostly second-rate newspapers for as long as anyone can remember. Its strategy has been straightforward: Leverage de facto monopoly newspaper status in individual cities into ownership of the classified advertising business in those communities. With high-speed broadband and wireless access now a fact for most Americans, consumers are no longer at the mercy of second-rate information providers."


49 posted on 11/20/2005 9:39:27 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Watch the rats re Iraq in 1998: http://media1.streamtoyou.com/rnc/111505.wmv)
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To: ForGod'sSake

Yes, very instructive. Things have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Conservative radio, led by Rush took over talk radio. Fox News has CNN possibly on the verge of bankruptcy. This could be one of the most interesting plays in media history.


50 posted on 11/20/2005 9:40:48 PM PST by calrighty (. Troops BTTT)
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