Corporate Power/Consolidation

Rumors of more layoffs, possible bankruptcy haunt Seattle Times

Sandeep Kaushik, PubliCola

Last November, when the Seattle Times announced its third round of layoffs in a year, Times executives strongly hinted that there would be more to come. “As the 2009 budgeting process continues, there will be additional expense reductions, which may include additional layoffs,” Times Publisher Frank Blethen and President Carolyn Kelly wrote in a memo to Times staff at the time. Word out of the Times then was that a new round of cutbacks could come as early as February. Rumors are swirling that the next round of layoffs could be coming soon.

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The Peoria plan for saving local dailies

Bill Richards, Crosscut

With the fate of the Post-Intelligencer seemingly sealed at least as a newspaper, and the Seattle Times teetering on the financial edge, the Seattle City Council will wade into the crisis Wednesday at 2 pm. Nick Licata’s “Culture, Civil Rights, Health and Personnel” Committee plans to spend two hours with a panel of news professionals, exploring possible ways to save Seattle’s disappearing newspapers. (Disclosure here: Crosscut’s publisher, David Brewster, will be one of the panel members.)

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Sarkozy pledges €600m to troubled French newspaper industry

Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian UK

nThe French president Nicolas Sarkozy today announced €600m (£565m) in emergency aid for his country's troubled newspaper industry and declared that every 18-year-old in France would get a year's free subscription to the paper of their choice to boost reading habits.

The crisis-hit French press is among the least profitable in Europe, stifled by rigid communist print unions, a lack of kiosks selling papers and a declining readership far below that of the UK or Germany.

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Dropped TV channels, and network contracts explained

Attorney General Rob McKenna, TechFlash

Washington residents, like viewers throughout the country, are caught in the middle of money-related spats between local TV stations and cable and satellite providers. New Year’s Eve was the deadline for many broadcasters and providers to reach what are called retransmission agreements. Many of them successfully negotiated new pacts or extended existing deals. But others hit roadblocks.

Our office has heard from customers who are upset about DISH Network’s decision to drop Fisher Communications stations from its lineup. Stations no longer available to DISH customers in Washington since Dec. 18 include KOMO and KUNS in Seattle; KIMA and KUNW in Yakima and KATU out of Portland, Ore.

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Clear Channel to slash jobs, expand syndicated programming

Peter Lauria, New York Post

The new owners of radio giant Clear Channel Communications will next week begin implementing a massive restructuring plan that seeks to cut $400 million in costs at the company, The Post has learned.

According to three sources with knowledge of the plan, the restructuring will include layoffs across the company's radio, outdoor advertising and international divisions as well as cuts to programming budgets and consolidation of back-office operations.

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P-I's closure in Seattle would reflect U.S. trend

Eric Pryne, Seattle Times

The Cincinnati Post: 1881-2007.

The Albuquerque Tribune: 1922-2008.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: 1863-2009?

If Seattle's oldest newspaper stops publishing this spring — a strong possibility after owner Hearst announced Friday that the P-I is for sale — it will join a long list of American papers that have fallen victim in recent years to changing habits, economics and technology.

Nearly 200 dailies have expired since 1990. And, in almost every instance, their deaths have touched off civic mourning that suggests a shuttered newspaper is more than just another failed business.

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Hearst decision to dump P-I likely to make Seattle a one-newspaper town

Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times

The Hearst Corporation will stop printing The Seattle Post-Intelligencer unless it can find a buyer in the next 60 days, company executives told the newspaper’s employees on Friday.

Steven R. Swartz, president of the company’s Hearst Newspapers division, flew from the corporate headquarters in New York to deliver the news, at a newsroom meeting convened shortly after noon in Seattle, standing alongside Roger Oglesby, the publisher, and David McCumber, the managing editor.

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Hearst will stop printing P-I if no buyer found in 60 days

Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Hearst Corp. put Seattle's oldest newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, up for sale Friday, saying that if it can't find a buyer in the next 60 days, the paper will close or continue to exist only on the Internet.

"These options include a move to a digital only operation with a greatly reduced staff, or a complete shutdown of all operations," Hearst, the P-I's parent company, said in a statement. "In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form following the conclusion of this process."

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Rumor or reality? Seattle P-I reportedly for sale, could close

Seattle Times staff

The future of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer appeared uncertain tonight after a local television station reported the newspaper is setting the stage for closure — but then the paper's managing editor said he knew of no such plans.

KING-TV reported at 5 p.m. that the P-I will be put up for sale. The information was attributed to an unnamed source who is "close to the deal." The television station said that neither the Hearst Corporation, which owns the P-I, nor the paper's publisher was available to immediately confirm the report. However, the source said the news could be officially announced as early as tomorrow.

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Internet providers move to shape broadband push

Amol Sharma, Wall Street Journal

President-elect Barack Obama's call to improve the nation's broadband infrastructure has cable and phone company lobbyists maneuvering to get a leg up.

Lawmakers in Congress want a plan that will create jobs over the next two to three years while also tackling the longer-term goal of improving the availability and quality of high-speed Web access in the U.S. The U.S. has slipped to 15th from fourth place since 2001 in broadband penetration, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Advocates say broadband deployment is critical to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey