Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thanks, Santa

The guys at Power Line have long maintained that the Minneapolis Star Tribune, their home newspaper is one of the worst in the country. It's a view shared by many of us who have visited the newspaper.

Today that view was shared by the marketplace and Goldman Sachs.
"While McClatchy will "generate a tax benefit of about $160 million," Goldman observes, it is also taking a hit on the sale price, having paid $1.2 billion for the paper in 1998, now selling it for $530 million. "The substantial loss on the sale is a vivid reminder of the industry's declining fortunes ove the last several years," Goldman declared.
And THAT quote was found at Editor & Publisher, the leftwing rah, rah, rah cheerleaders for the industry that are helping lead American newspapers off the cliff into la la land with Greg Mitchell, the frequent-flashbacks-to-Vietnam prone editor.

[For the record, note that Editor & Publisher, whose masthead says they are "America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry" is Dutch owned.]

Not surprisingly, another article at the Editor & Publisher site, quoted Nick Coleman, "a metropolitan columnist for the paper."
"It was like, who? Everyone knows the whole industry is in play and that just about anything could happen, but nobody thought we could get sold. There’s a real sense of betrayal ...“At a fire sale,” he said, “people get discounted, so we’re very concerned, worried and anxious.” But he added, “maybe it takes someone from outside the newspaper business to see the way forward.”
Nick Coleman is one of the most egregious examples of a political hack with total unsuitability for the newsroom. A some-time host at Air America, he is, simply, a hack for the Democrat party, a tradition he shared with his father who was a Democrat party big shot in the state. The Power Line guys systematically took him apart a dozen times for his columns.

The power of the union at the newspaper was another leftward factor that made the newspaper so bad. It was acknowledged by E&P staff when they stated that union contracts will remain in place no less than two different times in the writeup of the sale.

But for the rest of us it's a belated Christmas present. That is, if you believe the newspaper will change. The day they fire Nick Coleman, you can believe the fairy tale. Until then, the likelihood is that the private equity firm is just there to prop up one of the worst newspapers in the country.

See Captain's Quarters entry and Power Line's take. Fraters Libertas isn't optimistic about the equity firm that bought the paper.

Frankly, I am basing my pessimism on the fact that the equity group "was formed following the separation of most of its partners from the former DLJ Merchant Banking Partners unit of Credit Suisse First Boston in July, 2005."

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