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Newsonomics: This is how the 5 biggest newspaper chains could become 2 — and it all comes down to one day, June 30, 2020
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Worse, the two left standing could be run by hedge fund guys with little interest in more than the bottom line.
Astonishingly, history might argue that Sam Zell was only the third-worst owner in recent Tribune history.
The nation’s second-largest newspaper company had paid off most of its old debt and still generates positive cashflow. But it might head to bankruptcy anyway so investors can get paid.
What was once expected to be $200 million in annual cost savings has now grown to $400 million or more. But how much blood is left to be drawn from this stone?
The “failing” New York Times’ news operation now employs more than 1,700 journalists, up nearly 50 percent from a decade ago. It has nearly 5 million subscribers, triple its print-era peak. Now it’s preparing to up the price.
“On-the-ground collaboration, on-the-ground communication, on-the-ground exchange are all getting to be more like business as usual.”
“The point is they have personality. They have character. They’re engaging, and they have really inside stuff. So, they’re more than newsletters. They are mini-brands that have events and forums around them — but the newsletter is almost the spearhead.”
The predicted culture clashes seem to have been mostly avoided, and they’re ready to expand their reach in Europe, Asia, and everywhere else.
The money is welcome, and the potential audience is too. But does this push publishers away from being destinations and toward being suppliers?
With Lookout Local, our longtime news industry columnist Ken Doctor is going to apply what he’s learned to try to fill the growing void in local reporting.