Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

'Strib reportedly hits iceberg; sinking fast; SOS not responded to

If there's a paper out there that ranks up there with those we dislike the most (such as the New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe, and to some degree the WaPo) it would be the Minneapolis Star Tribune, or 'Strib. The New York Post is reporting that the cash-strapped paper -- with mountains of debt -- is sinking faster than the Titanic:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, reeling under a heavy debt load and plummeting advertising sales, is on the brink of bankruptcy, The Post has learned.

One of the nation's top dailies, "The Strib," as it is known to readers in the Twin Cities, recently hired the Wall Street powerhouse Blackstone Group to restructure its balance sheet after failing to meet its debt obligations, according to people familiar with the company.

The broadsheet is unlikely to shutter its doors, but its creditors, including the banking giant Credit Suisse Group, figure to eventually end up controlling the paper. Down the road, the creditor group could then sell it after dramatically cutting costs.

The private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners, run by former Credit Suisse deal maker Tom Dean, purchased the Star Tribune from the McClatchy Co. in 2006 for $530 million. The New York firm, which put up $100 million of its own money and borrowed the rest, stands to lose its entire investment, sources said.

After Avista bought the company, the firm's partner, OhSang Kwon, was quoted in the paper as saying that Minneapolis-St. Paul was a "good market" and that "this is a good time to be buying newspapers."

That sentiment turned out to be too optimistic, as newspapers nationwide continue to lose readers and advertising dollars continue to migrate online.

Memo to newspapers -- as the public went to the Internet, the necessity to have a paper delivered daily started dying slowly. Even today, the Arizona Republic (our local bird-cage liner) continues to offer great deals on subscriptions. But why bother? My morning stop in the morning for coffee is a pleasant little convenience store where I shoot the breeze with the owner and few regular customers as we all peruse the paper FOR FREE. Additionally, if a story catches my eye, I look it up online. If it's not there, my work has a ready copy out for employees. I'll photocopy it.

The newspaper industry is dying a slow and painful death. Not just because the world is evolving towards a more online society, but their columnists, journalists, and pundits are, for lack of a better phrase, stuck on stupid. People don't want an inherent bias in their news. That's what the editorial page is for. (At least the Times put their newest, whiffing hit piece today where it belongs on the editorial pages today rather than the front page for this and this non-story.) The 'Strib, like so many other MSM outlets, hasn't done that, and their failing paper is showing the disgust that many Twin City residents have shown to the paper.

Now that's not to say that the 'Strib doesn't have good people. James Lileks has a regular column there as well as maintaining the 'Strib's inhouse blog, Buzz.mn. (and if you're a regular reader of the site, you know how much we love reading the wit and whimsical Mr. Lileks.)

So, to say the 'Strib is worthless is going a tad too far. If it didn't have Lileks there, it'd be close to the cage-liner status we bestow on other MSM outlets. But if it goes under, Lileks is out of a job. If there is a n editor out there who has half a brain, if the 'Strib does go under, you'd be smart to snatch up James Lileks quickly. And if it does go under, that'd be a shame, but it was something that was a longtime in coming.

Publius II


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home