Sleepless in Seattle — The Post-Intelligencer shuts down — lives online

Last week: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has told employees they “might” lose their jobs as soon as next week after a deadline for Hearst Corp to sell the newspaper passed last Monday. 

The news is out, the  146-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer prints its last edition tomorrow.

The P-I will continue to “live” on the Internet with a much smaller staff.

I like it. It’s a mix of current and archival. Mikey likes it!

http://www.seattlepi.com 

Owner, the Hearst Corp. reports it has failed to find a buyer for the newspaper, which it put up for sale in January after nine years of financial losses. There are no more suckers left with enough trust fund money to waste.

The end of the print edition leaves The Seattle Times as the only major daily newspaper in the city. 

The TV stations will be there tonight and tomorrow capturing the historic day.

Seattle has been counting TV, and now the internet as their favorite news sources. Do you think people will wait for the Seattle Times to find out?

 

 

Last week:

Read between the lines: Boxes for removing personal items and shredding bins are scheduled to be delivered to the PI floors this week.

Clues suggest Hearst plans to close the P-I shortly

Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports on its own demise
Just after Hearst spokesman Paul Luthringer claimed that “we are still evaluating our options,” Post-Intelligencer staffers learned that boxes and bins are scheduled to be delivered to the newsroom later this week — some for materials to be taken home, others for notes that require shredding. “It would be nice to have some clarity,” says business reporter Joseph Tartakoff. “It’s really hard to plan your work when you’re not sure if you’ll be around the next day.”

The New York Times sold off the majority of its new sky scraper in New York and has a long-term rent agreement. The company no longer owns the roof over its head.

Next, McClatchy announced massive layoffs, and Hearst’s Seattle PI is about to turn into a shadow, online only edition. Meanwhile, back at Hearst’s figurative flagship, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Media Guild has accepted big cuts just to keep most jobs. The Denver Rocky Mountain News shut down a week or so ago. 

McClatchy Co. is shearing another 1,600 jobs in a cost-cutting spree that has clipped nearly one-third of the newspaper publisher’s work force in less than a year.

The latest reduction in payroll announced Monday follows through on the Sacramento-based company’s previously disclosed plans to lower its expenses by as much as $110 million over the next year as its revenue evaporates amid a devastating recession.

The layoffs will start before April. No fooling.

 Several of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers, including The Sacramento Bee and The Kansas City Star, already have decided how many workers will be shown the door. Close to 2,000. 

 

Pew Research report
Just 43 percent  of Americans say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot,” according to a Pew Research poll. And even fewer, only 33 percent say they will miss their local newspaper if it folds.

Back to the West Coast

Negotiators for the Guild and the San Francisco Chronicle reached a tentative agreement Monday night changes to the collective bargaining agreement in line with cost cuts planned by Hearst. 

The agreement will require approval by Chronicle Unit Guild members. (They will approve or lose their jobs wholesale). 

A ratification meeting will be scheduled as early as Thursday of this week. Time and place will be announced on Tuesday as soon as a large enough facility can be secured.

In view of the latest terms agreed today, the Guild Negotiating Committee recommends membership approval.

The terms reached late Monday include expanded management ability to lay off employees without regard to seniority. All employees who are discharged in a layoff or who accept voluntary buyouts are guaranteed two weeks’ pay per year of service up to a maximum of one year, plus company-paid health care for the severance term, even in the event of a shutdown – which today’s agreement is designed to avoid.

Guild membership will remain a condition of continued employment for all employees. However, new hires in certain advertising sales positions will be given the option of membership, even though they will retain Guild protection under the contract.

On-callers will be limited to no more than 10 percent in any classification or department.

Pension changes are not part of this agreement, but are being discussed by pension authorities and must be implemented under terms of the Pension Protection Act, due to the recent declines in investment markets. Because those changes may affect the decisions of many members concerning buyouts, we are attempting to reach some key understandings now as to the nature of the changes and when they will take effect.

A lunch-hour meeting on Wednesday March 11, with our pension plan’s lawyer will be held at the Guild Office, 433 Natoma, Third Floor Conference Room.

A bulletin summarizing all the proposed contract changes will be issued Tuesday. A set of the complete proposed amendments will be available on the Guild’s Web site (mediaworkers.org) as soon as possible.

Management is seeking to change the union contract as part of an attempt to cut costs and keep the paper operating under the ownership of the Hearst Corp.

The company said Feb. 24 it would sell or close the paper unless the Guild agreed to changes in the labor agreement in effect through June 2010.

The leaders in the former cash cow industry thought they could just transform to their pages of expensive advertising to Web pages. Sorry. The Web is very competitive and readers will not put up with page after page of ads to follow the news. 

McClatchy is down for the count. The stock is hovering below $1 and will soon be kicked out of the New York Stock Exchange. 

The The Sun of Myrtle Beach and the  Macon Telegraph – McClatchy papers, announced last week that they were outsourcing printing, they joined what one experts are calling the last stage of the dying industry.

Chuck Moozakis, editor-in-chief of Newspapers & Technology, found in a December survey piece that the flight from printing includes mid-sized papers like the two last week, small papers, but also very big ones like the San Francisco Chronicle. Dow Jones has already closed plants in Denver and Chicago and could shutter 10 of the 17 around the country that have printed The Wall Street Journal.

 
“There is a lot of iron sitting out there now,” Moozkis reported.  
“What’s more sobering is the amount of press capacity now available within operations with relatively new presses” like Detroit and Denver. Losing the Rocky Mountain News press run — when it closes (not if) — won’t help, and some of the same impact will come as the two Detroit papers have reduced distribution of a smaller print product most weekdays.
 
 The carbon footprint of newspapers is enormous. At least the unemployed “progressives” can be happy that they are no longer contributing to the worst global warming industry on the planet. 

The funny thing, the Rocky didn’t know it was on life support for the last 10 years

The JOAs have just prolonged the death of failing newspapers. It’s time to pull the plug.

 

They fancy themselves literary geniuses, some of them do, when they are merely expert at the craft of certain formula which bear little relation to communicating with readers at the highest level. Or they fancy themselves tough-nosed reporters simply because they work in Chicago, and wail about the (falsely alleged) error rates of valuable tools like Wikipedia, without having even gone through the fact-checking process of a typical monthly magazine that will humble any newspaper reporter within minutes (trust me, I know).

The industry is still discussing inverted pyramids instead of the art of the link and how it changes the narrative structure of what we do.

Please die already. — The Beachwoodreporter.com.

Stephanopoulos and Obama Chief of Staff on daily phone briefings from the White House

No wonder why trust in the media is at record lows, like temperatures. 

ABC News’ anchorman of the news and host of This Week with 
George Stephanopoulos, is on a daily morning conference call with Rahm Emanuel and others from the old Clinton administration, now in the media
.  Web site Politico broke the news that
Stephanopoulos is currently conducting private, daily
phone briefings with Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel

This is unethical  journalism and a clear
conflict of interest.   How can Stephanopoulos participate
in daily briefings about the administration’s strategy and
message and then be charged with reporting on them?

Update: Feb. 4: A White House reporter, so infatuated with the new president, jumped out of line and begged for Obama’s autograph today. At the end of the SCHIP signing, a member of the press corps jumped the rope penning off reporters to get an autograph from POTUS. Secret Service swooped in and stopped him. An Obama aide said the man is still being held by Secret Service. No details yet on the reporter’s name or publication. — Carol E. Lee 

The individual in question, whose name I don’t know, showed up in the press briefing room basement under escort of a White House press aide (not the Service at that point) apparently to retrieve personal belongings and make his way out of the complex. — Josh Gerstein 

 

How about tapes of those conversations with major media and the White House? Shouldn’t the public get in on that? It’s our White House, not the Democrat party’s central command for propaganda. 

The Media Research Center (MRC) Action Team thas started a campaign to call
ABC News and demand that he Stepanopoulos (Stephy)  recuse himself
from reporting on any issues involving the Obama Administration,
thousands of citizens took immediate action!

         In fact, the MRC reports  that ABC News switchboard
         personnel were completely swamped, and couldn’t keep up
         with the heavy volume of angry calls.

Don’t Stop Calling!

We are expanding this effort, and have added Stephanopoulos’s boss,
David Westin, President of ABC News and Westin’s boss, Anne Sweeney,
Co-Chairman at Disney. They all need to hear from us.

Here are the numbers to call:

George Stephanopoulos, Washington Chief Correspondent, ABC News
202-222-7700

David Westin, President ABC News 212-456-6200

Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks 818-569-7700

Click here to send emails:

http://www.mrcaction.org/r.asp?U=15953&CID=517&RID=11817738

The Miami Herald now up for sale

McClatchy, among the top three newspaper companies in America, burdened by huge debt and a steep slide in newspaper readership and advertising, wants to sell one of its most prized properties, The Miami Herald, according to people briefed on the company’s plans. That would be like you selling your best late model car that you use to get downtown to work every day. 

McClatchy has approached potential buyers for The Herald, said people  within the company (not able to give their names out of fear). But they said they knew of no serious offers for the paper, reflecting the reality of major investors’ interest in buying newspapers. None what so ever.

The reports all say about the same thing. The blood letting will continue for a long while. Eventually, only the top regional newspapers will survive in a mixed media format of print and online news and advertising. The list of survivors will not have room for papers like the Miami Herald, Rocky Mountain News, or even the Sacramento Bee. The San Francisco Chronicle will handle Northern California and the LA Times Southern Cal.

In Florida, readers will keep with the NY Times and the St Petersburg Times will become Florida’s paper of record. Just my opinion of course.

A company spokeswoman refused to discuss the matter. Elaine Lintecum, the treasurer, said, “We do not comment on market rumors.”

Well, time will tell.  What workers should watch for: window dressing. There will be blood letting.

You will experience some more cuts. The bean counters will have to make the books look good in Miami for the next six months. Computers will not be replaced, of course, neither will people, even the work horses who take the chump change buyouts. 

There will be some morale-boosting promotions such as “awards” to some high profile employees to add to the window dressing, but not with pay. Next, watch for tours of about six people in suits — accountants, corporate attorneys and a few silver haired consultants. Be nice to them, who knows if the older guy in his 60s will be the publisher in May of ’09.

 

The McClatchy folly in 2006 is a case study in bad management. They bought Knight Ridder when its share holders said dump the bad business and the remaining Ridder family members looked at the numbers and said, “yes, you are right, sell now!”

Through the first 10 months of this year, McClatchy’s ad revenue fell 14.7 percent in other parts of the country, but 22.5 percent in California and Florida, the NY Times reported. (The Times does a good job reporting on the troubles of comepetitors). 

The McClatchy share price, which exceeded $75 in 2005, ironically started its slide soon after they purchesed the Knight Ridder papers, closed at $2.20 on Friday. So, for the price of a Rockstar sport drink, you could buy a share of McClatchy stock.  Go for the Rockstar, you really will get something for your money.

The Internet most trusted news source now

The Web Most Reliable Source of News according to Zogby

There is a backlash to the perceived (real or imagined) alliance between major media and the Democrat party. 

A Zogby Poll, commissioned by IFC, found 37.6% of those asked consider the Internet the most reliable source of news. 20.3% consider national TV news most reliable and 16% say radio is the most reliable source.

• 39.3% of those surveyed trust FOX News most for the issues they consider most important, followed by CNN with 16% and MSNBC with just 15%.

• 72.6% believe the news they read and see is biased.

• 88.7% Republican and 57.5% Democrat respondents describe the news media as biased.

 Theodore Roosevelt

    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

–Teddy Roosevelt

 

Impeccable timing for Ann Coulter’s new book, “Guilty.”

Set for release first week of January, the book exposes in documented detail, the media’s love affair with all things Democrat and Obama. Coulter presents all the details that have been covered up. It mocks  and rocks professional jounalism to its core.

“GUILTY is a much-needed reality check on a Left gone wild,” declares the book’s jacket.

“When it comes to bullying, no one outdoes the Left. Citing case after case, ranging from the hilariously absurd to the shockingly vicious, Coulter dissects so-called victims who are invariably the oppressors. For instance: While Barack Hussein Obama piously condemned attacks on candidates’ families, his media and campaign surrogates ripped open the court-sealed divorce records of his two principal opponents in his Senate race in Illinois.”

 

The leftist blogs are reporting that Ms. Coulter had her jaw wired shut. If so, she can still write best sellers. 

 

 

The age of objectivity and fair reporting in America is over — MSNBC is disgraced

Who is a Democrat PR talking head and who is a journalist on MSNBC, NBC or CNN? Why stop there? The Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times and SF Chronicle are not investigating economic issues and massive bailouts. What kind of balanced journalism do you think the media performed during the two-year election?

First the gang journalists piled on Hillary, next they covered for Obama and attacked Palin.

MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.

The New York TImes had a reporter rewrite an AP story on the hoax and they spun the story to blame FOX News first with the hoax.  This is called journalism?

MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.

David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, “a McCain policy adviser,” had come forth and identified himself as the source of a story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent.

Eisenstadt identifies himself on a blog as a senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy and “a contributor to FOX News.” Yet neither he nor the institute exist; each is part of a hoax dreamed up by a filmmaker named Eitan Gorlin and his partner, Dan Mirvish, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Eisenstadt claim had mistakenly been delivered to Shuster by a producer and was used in a political discussion Monday afternoon, MSNBC said.

“The story was not properly vetted and should not have made air,” said Jeremy Gaines, network spokesman. “We recognized the error almost immediately and ran a correction on air within minutes.”

Gaines told the Times that someone in the network’s newsroom had presumed the information solid because it was passed along in an e-mail from a colleague.

The hoax was limited to the identity of the source in the story about Palin—not the Fox News story itself. While Palin has denied that she mistook Africa for a country, the veracity of that report was not put in question by the revelation that Eisenstadt is a phony.

Eisenstadt’s “work” had been quoted and debunked before. The Huffington Post said it had cited Eisenstadt in July on a story regarding the Hilton family and McCain.

Among the other victims were political blogs for the Los Angeles Times and The New Republic, each of which referenced false material from Eisenstadt’s blog.

“The story was not properly vetted and should not have made air,” said Jeremy Gaines, MSNBC spokesman.

There are plenty of questions that are not asked.

How did Minnesota Democrat Party election officials come up with 500 more votes for the Democrat senate candidate days after the polls closed and none for the Republican candidate?

Why was there a crisis over $150,000 spent on Sarah Palin’s campaign clothing, but no comparison with Hillary’s warehouse of pantsuits or Obama’s Greek columns and semi-truck of suits?

Newspaper and news magazine circulation is dropping. Layoffs continue. (Wait until after January).

Recent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives on Obama’s payroll — Senator Chris Dodd oversees Freddie and Fannie and has received hundreds of thousands in contributions from them. Barney Frank’s lover was a director on Fannie

UPDATE: Oct. 2, 2008

Unqualified home buyers were not the only ones who benefited from Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts to deregulate Fannie Mae throughout the 1990s.

So did Frank’s partner, a Fannie Mae executive at the forefront of the agency’s push to relax lending restrictions.

Enron executives are in prison over much less. In fact far more money was lost to investors after Mr. Frank, trumpeted the great management of Freddie Mack and Fannie May.

We thank Bill O’Reilly for bringing up Barney Frank’s role. Fortunately, we still have a free press in this country. Wait until ’09, if Obama wins he and Nancy Pelosi promise to invoke the “Fairness Doctrine.”

Now that Fannie Mae is at the epicenter of a financial meltdown that threatens the U.S. economy, some are raising new questions about Frank’s relationship with Herb Moses, who was Fannie’s assistant director for product initiatives. Moses worked at the government-sponsored enterprise from 1991 to 1998, while Frank was on the House Banking Committee, which had jurisdiction over Fannie.

Both Frank and Moses assured the Wall Street Journal in 1992 that they took pains to avoid any conflicts of interest. Critics, however, remain skeptical.

“It’s absolutely a conflict,” said Dan Gainor, vice president of the Business & Media Institute. “He was voting on Fannie Mae at a time when he was involved with a Fannie Mae executive. How is that not germane?

“If this had been his ex-wife and he was Republican, I would bet every penny I have – or at least what’s not in the stock market – that this would be considered germane,” added Gainor, a T. Boone Pickens Fellow. “But everybody wants to avoid it because he’s gay. It’s the quintessential double standard.”

Did you read about this in the New York Times, Washington Post or San Francisco Chronicle?

UPDATE: 9/25/08

Countrywide Financial, the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, made large, previously undisclosed home loans to two additional executives of Fannie Mae, the government-chartered firm at the center of the U.S. credit crisis.

This is what Lindsey Graham said on Greta’s show: “And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.”

Imagine what $140,000,000 can do to for ACORN and the Democrat party?

The FBI is investigating Freddie, Fannie, and AGI.
One of Countrywide’s previously undisclosed customers at Fannie was Jamie Gorelick, an influential Democratic Party figure whose $960,000 mortgage refinancing in 2003 was handled through a program reserved for influential figures and friends of Countrywide’s chief executive at the time, Angelo Mozilo. Ms. Gorelick was Fannie Mae’s vice chairman at the time. [Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, listening to testimony on Capitol Hill in April, got a Countrywide refinancing while at Fannie Mae.] Associated Press

Former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, listening to testimony on Capitol Hill in April, got a Countrywide refinancing while at Fannie Mae.

Another Countrywide client was recently ousted Fannie Mae Chief Executive Daniel Mudd, though it isn’t clear whether he received special treatment on two $3 million mortgage refinancings he made when he was the company’s chief operating officer.

In an interview, Ms. Gorelick said she had no knowledge of receiving special treatment. A financial adviser to Mr. Mudd said he received interest rates in line with the prevailing market.

The Fannie loans — including a series of already reported preferential loans to former Fannie chief executives James Johnson and Franklin Raines — underscore the close connections between Countrywide and Fannie Mae and raise potential conflict-of-interest issues.

UPDATE: 9/24/08

Statement by John McCain, May 25, 2006:

Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.

Mac and Mae meltdown. Which Democrats benefited from the quasi-government agencies?

UPDATE: 9/24/2008
Opensecrets.com has looked into the public records of direct contributions from the organizations of Freddie and Fannie, not including the donations from top executives. The FBI is opening major investigations into the actions of the organizations.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Invest in Democrats

| | Comments (15)

(For an updated chart that includes contributions from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s PACs and employees to ALL lawmakers back to 1989, including to their leadership PACs, go here.) and data The federal government recently announced that it will come to the rescue of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two embattled mortgage buyers that for years have pursued a lobbying strategy to get lawmakers on their side. Both companies have poured money into lobbying and campaign contributions to federal candidates, parties and committees as a general tactic, but they’ve also directed those contributions strategically. In the 2006 election cycle, Fannie Mae was giving 53 percent of its total $1.3 million in contributions to Republicans, who controlled Congress at that time. This cycle, with Democrats in control, they’ve reversed course, giving the party 56 percent of their total $1.1 million in contributions. Similarly, Freddie Mac has given 53 percent of its $555,700 in contributions to Democrats this cycle, compared to the 44 percent it gave during 2006.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also strategically given more contributions to lawmakers currently sitting on committees that primarily regulate their industry. Fifteen of the 25 lawmakers who have received the most from the two companies combined since the 1990 election sit on either the House Financial Services Committee; the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee; or the Senate Finance Committee. The others have seats on the powerful Appropriations or Ways & Means committees, are members of the congressional leadership or have run for president. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate banking committee, has received the most from Fannie and Freddie’s PACs and employees ($133,900 since 1989). Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) has received $65,500. Kanjorski chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.
Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008

Top Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Name

Office

Party/State

Total

1. Dodd, Christopher

S

D-CT

$133,900

2. Kerry, John

S

D-MA

$111,000

3. Obama, Barack

S

D-IL

$105,849

4. Clinton, Hillary

S

D-NY

$75,550

5. Kanjorski, Paul E

H

D-PA

$65,500

This is a story that you won’t read about in the mainstream media. The Clinton administration marching orders to open up home loans to people unqualified, (socialization of home ownership). Today, the Democrats have taken over the U.S. Congress and have a 50/50 chance to take over the White House.
Look into the Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama connection — they have recieved millions of dollars from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Chris Dodd also received a sweet deal from Countrywide. These same people in “public service” are not investigating the corruption. For the past two years, the Democrats have held the majority controlling status of the House and Senate. So they will not turn in their own.

“Freddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs.

A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions. The top three U.S. senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats and No. 2 on the list is Sen. Barack Obama.

Fannie and Freddie have been creations of the congressional Democrats and the Clinton White House, designed to make mortgages available to more people and, as it turns out, many people who couldn’t afford them… Now remember: Obama’s ads and stump speeches attack McCain and Republican policies for the current financial turmoil. It is demonstrably not Republican policy and worse, it appears the man attacking McCain — Sen. Obama — was at the head of the line when the piggies lined up at the Fannie and Freddie trough for campaign bucks.

Sen. Barack Obama: No. 2 on the Fannie/Freddie list of favored politicians after just two years in the Senate.

Next time you see that ad, you might notice he fails to mention that part of the Fannie and Freddie problem.”

Now let’s look at Franklin Raines, Barack Obama’s campaign manager — previously a Fannie Mae top executive.

This story is serious but it won’t receive any attention from the mainstream media who benefit from a socialist America and Barack Obama as President.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also strategically given more contributions to lawmakers currently sitting on committees that primarily regulate their industry. Fifteen of the 25 lawmakers who have received the most from the two companies combined since the 1990 election sit on either the House Financial Services Committee; the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee; or the Senate Finance Committee. The others have seats on the powerful Appropriations or Ways & Means committees, are members of the congressional leadership or have run for president. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate banking committee, has received the most from Fannie and Freddie’s PACs and employees ($133,900 since 1989). Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) has received $65,500. Kanjorski chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.”

The names of the top four recipients of Campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie over the last 10 years is also interesting – Christopher Dodd, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (all top Democrats for those keeping a scorecard).
About Franklin Raines and James Johnson
James A. Johnson (born December 24, 1943) is a United States Democratic Party political figure. He was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s failed 1984 presidential bid and chaired the vice presidential selection committee for the presidential campaign of John Kerry. He was involved in the vice-presidential selection process for the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama.
Johnson began his career as a faculty member at Princeton University, later moving on to the United States Senate as a staff member and to the Dayton-Hudson Corporation (now Target Corp.) as director of public affairs. He was executive assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale during the entire Carter Administration (1977-1981). Later, he founded and headed Public Strategies, a private consulting firm, from 1981 to 1985 before leaving for Lehman Brothers.
From 1991 to 1998, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the quasi-public organization that guarantees mortgages for millions of American homeowners. Previously, he was vice chairman of Fannie Mae (1990-1991). An Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight report from September 2004 found that, during Johnson’s tenure as CEO, Fannie Mae had improperly deferred $200 million in expenses. This enabled top executives, including Johnson and his successor, Franklin Raines, to receive substantial bonuses that they would have otherwise not earned.
As of 2006, he is a vice chairman of the private banking firm Perseus LLC, a position he has held since 2001. He is also a board member at Goldman Sachs, Gannett Company, Inc., a media holding group, KB Home, a home construction firm, Target Corporation, Temple-Inland, and UnitedHealth Group.
Johnson has also served as chairman of both the Kennedy Center for the Arts (1996-2004) and the Brookings Institution (1994-2003). He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Friends of Bilderberg, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission.
On May 22, Democratic Party officials confidentially divulged that Obama had asked Johnson “to lead the process” for selecting Obama’s running mate.On June 4, 2008, Obama announced the formation of a three person committee to vet vice presidential candidates, including Johnson. However, Johnson soon became a source of controversy when it was reported that he had received loans directly from Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial, a company implicated in the U.S. subprime mortgage lending crisis. Although he was not accused of any wrongdoing and was initially defended by Obama on the grounds that he was simply an unpaid volunteer, Johnson announced he would step down from the vice-presidential vetting position on June 11, 2008 in order to avoid being a distraction to Obama’s campaign.
On September 19, the McCain/Palin campaign released an ad showing Obama linked him to Johnson.
What does Don Imus have to say about his old pals? They threw him under the train.
Give us your thoughts, my friends.

Obama — what do you know about ACORN and the garden to nowhere?

Inside the Chicago Democrat machine

Updated: 10/11/08

By Mick Gregory

Watch John McCain roll up his sleeves and bring up ACORN, the Citi Bank intimidation lawsuit, the Annenberg $100 million to nowhere and Tony Rezco.

Jailed political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the Chicago real estate developer who helped launch Barack Obama on his political career, is whispering secrets to federal prosecutors about corruption in Illinois and the political fallout could be explosive.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose administration faces multiple federal investigations over how it handed out jobs and money with advice from Rezko, is considered the most vulnerable but second is non other than Barack Obama.

Rezko also was very friendly with Obama – offering him a job when he finished law school, funding his earliest political campaigns and purchasing a lot next to his house.

Rezko showed Obama around to the king makers and linked him up with Bill Ayers. The rest as they say is history.

Here is another story that  appears to be felony fraud, but you didn’t read it in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle or Washington Post. The tabloid Chicago Sun-Times reported a $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan — a Democrat who is supporting Obama’spresidential bid — is investigating “whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received,” Cara Smith, Madigan’s deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

In addition to the 2001 grant that Obama directed to the housing association as a “member initiative,” the not-for-profit group got a separate $20,000 state grant in 2006.

Madigan’s office has notified Obama’s presidential campaign of the probe, which was launched this week. But Obama’sactions in awarding the money are not a focus of the investigation, Smith said.

Questions about the grant, though, come as spending on local pet projects has become an issue in Obama’s campaign against John McCain.

Obama andKenny Smith announced the “Englewood Botanic Garden Project” at a January 2000 news conference at Englewood High School. Obama was in the midst of a failed bid to oust South Side Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush for a seat in Congress. The garden — planned near and under L tracks between 59th Place and 62nd Place — fell outside of Obama’s Illinois Senate district but within the congressional district’s borders.

Obama vowed to “work tirelessly” to raise $1.1 million to help Smith’s organization turn the City of Chicago-owned lot into an oasis of trees and paths. But Obama lost the congressional race, no more money was raised, and today the garden site is a mess of weeds, chunks of concrete and garbage. The only noticeable improvement is a gazebo. The only tree was sawed down and removed.

The “garden to nowhere” ended up in the pockets of Obama’s campaign staff and maybe Obama himself.

In a previous interview, Smith said the state grant money was legitimately spent, mostly on underground site preparation. Underground? You mean out of sight.

But no one ever took out construction permits required for such work, city records show. And a contractor who Smith said did most of the work told a reporter all he did was cut down trees and grade the site with a Bobcat.

Citing the garden’s failure to take root, NeighborSpace — an umbrella group for dozens of community gardens citywide — moved Sept. 9 to return the site to the city. Its action followed a July 11 Sun-Times report on the grant.

Obama spokesman Michael Ortiz said Wednesday the senator’s staff in Washington will monitor the Madigan probe and an additional review under way by Gov. Blagojevich’s administration to make sure “the taxpayer funds allocated for the construction of the garden are recuperated from CBHA if the agencies determine that the funds were not properly spent.” Obama’s goal is to ensure the site “be used in a way that benefits the community and that any taxpayer dollars allocated are spent wisely,” Ortiz said.

The relationship between Smith and Obama dates to at least 1997, when Obama wrote a letter that Smith used to help the housing association win city funding for an affordable-housing development near the garden site. Plans called for more than 50 homes; a dozen ultimately were built.

Smith also has donated $550 to Obama campaign funds.

The Sun-Times learned about Karen Smith’s involvement in the project through an Aug. 12 Freedom of Information Act response from a lawyer for Blagojevich¹s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The department, according to the lawyer, had ³discovered² 52 pages of ³additional documents² omitted from an initial response in May to a Sun-Times¹ Freedom of Information Act request about the grant.

Neither Smith nor his wife has been accused of any wrongdoing. Smith and his lawyer did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

In an interview in July, Smith said he was never able to raise the money needed for the garden. But the state grant awarded by Obamawas spent properly, he said, on the undergroundwork, withmost of the work done by a contractor whose name Smith got wrong.

The Sun-Times tracked down the contractor, Rodolfo Marin, in Austin, Texas, where he now lives.

“What I was hired for was: Clean up the area and cut the trees — that’s all,” Marin said. He said he rented a Bobcat — a sort of small bulldozer — for the project. “If he spent about $3,000 with me, that was too much.”

Visit this link for more details: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2008/09/07/barack-obamas-1-1-million-botanical-garden-er-100-000-gazebo

McCain showed true leadership by stopping his campaign and asking Obama, the Jr. Senator from Chicago Illinois, to help organize a financial bailout loan. What did he get for it? He was insulted by the Democrat leadership.

So why did the Democrats earmark millions to ACORN?

This is what Lindsey Graham said on the Greta Van Susteren show: “And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.”

Note: ACORN is a front group for Democrat/Socialists convicted of massive voter fraud. Google it yourself.

Gary Pruitt to get the boot from the Titanic of newspaper failures. McClatchy is a case study in ignorance

CEO Gary Pruitt of the McClatchy News Inc. (mainly newspapers) has made it on Jim Cramer’s Wall of Shame, and Cramer cited MNI’s disastrous acquisition of Knight-Ridder which brought the stock down 82% as the reason for this special honor. The newspaper had been a well-run operation, but Cramer said the acquisition was among the worst he has ever seen. In addition, advertising revenue dropped 16% after subsequent declines. McClatchy has a history of making losing acquisitions, including the Minneapolis Star in 1998. Not only did Cramer give Pruitt a special place on the Wall of Shame, he gave him the middle name “Schemp” after the inept sidekick of the Three Stooges.

Pruitt may be looking for a job on the Obama campaign. The McClatchy family unanimously voted him off the board of directors on Tuesday.

McClatchy stock has crashed to less than a gallon of gas, about $3.20. There is no more wiggle room for stock offers. The stock smells like an old fish wrapped in the Sacramento Bee.

Continue reading

Bump from Biden. Not so much.

Pew, NYT, Gallup, Rasmussen, CNN, CNBC and Huffington Post are all scrambling to get a poll out showing a spike in support for their Obama/Biden dream ticket. But so far, silence. That means no bump. Hillary still has a chance in Denver next week.

In fact, Gallup shows McCain up! Can Hillary do anything about it?

It’s official: Barack Obama has received no bounce in voter support out of his selection of Sen. Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate.

Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 23-25, the first three-day period falling entirely after Obama’s Saturday morning vice presidential announcement, shows 46% of national registered voters backing John McCain and 44% supporting Obama, not appreciably different from the previous week’s standing for both candidates. This is the first time since Obama clinched the nomination in early June, though, that McCain has held any kind of advantage over Obama in Gallup Poll Daily tracking.

The Washington Post and New York Times preach affirmative action for every other organization, but they don’t practice it

The New York Times is a daily promotional newsletter for the elite liberals and Democrat party. The  high paying positions are filled by family members and friends from the inner circle of the Democrat party.  A former speech writer for Bill Clinton rejected an Op-Ed letter from John McCain, while printing Obama’s letter in full the week before.

Take a look at the CEO, publisher and executive editor positions at the New York Times. It’s all in the family. And one of the biggest jokes on Wall Street, their stock is like the Democrat’s super delegates, the Sulzberger family has voting rights while all the other stockholders do not. That assures that Pinch Sulzberger stays highly paid as CEO and publisher of the crumbling empire. Pinchy gets to travel to Devos, Switzerland to discuss economic issues on the non-voting stock holders’ dime. (Devos is one of the most expensive resorts in the world).

Why isn’t the NYT practicing affirmative action? Appoint Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton as publisher or at least on the board of directors.  Practice what you preach, affirmative action where it counts.

“We are delighted that these two exceptional individuals have agreed to be nominees for election by our shareholders,” the company’s chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said in a press release sday announcing the news. “The skills, expertise and leadership qualities of these two nominees will greatly benefit our Company during this time of tremendous change in the media world.”
One new director,  Dawn Lepore, served as a director of Wal-Mart from 2001 to 2004. While Ms. Lepore was serving as a Wal-Mart director, along side Hillary Clinton, the Times was denouncing Wal-Mart for a series of supposed sins.  The other  director is from “Big Oil.” Google it if you don’t believe me.

 The Washington Post created a media group and a high paying job for family member Katharine Weymouth, part of the Graham family. Weymouth is the niece of CEO Donald Graham.

A new generation of the Graham family  is taking a lead role. Katharine Weymouth, niece of chairman and CEO Donald Graham, has been appointed CEO of Washington Post Media, a new unit that includes the paper and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. This should bring the business sides closer together, perhaps even integrating them, but the newsrooms will remain distinct.

She also becomes the fifth member of the Graham family to serve as publisher, returning the family to that post as she succeeds Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr.; he is now vice chairman of the company and chairman of the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO).

The Washington Post is actually getting some heat for its elite liberal act.

Washington Post Metro reporter Robert Pierre  said it’s “unconscionable” that the paper would devote a year and 12 chapters to the murder of a white woman — Chandra Levy — when around 200 people per year are murdered in DC — most of them black males. “I personally hope that people march on the paper and throw the papers back,” he says. “It is absolutely absurd and dare I say, racist, at its core.”

Zell tells it like it is for newspapers

Sam Zell, the real estate tycoon who now runs the combined Times-Mirror/Tribune newspaper empire,  said some shocking statements today. 

Mr. Zell was on the CNBC “Squawk Box” show (June 27) when he said,
“I think that because newspapers have historically been monopolies, I think they’ve been insulated from reality. I, you know, am in the position where I’m going to have to, quote-unquote, deliver reality.

I think we can have terrific newspapers, but I think the newspapers have to respond to their customers. In many cases a lot of the things we’re doing right now were all identified in focus groups over the last eight years. And the focus groups were made, were taken, and nobody paid attention to them.”

You are right on Mr. Zell. Not only did the “editorial elite” ignore the research, they laughed about it.

It’s time you model newspapers after real businesses starting with demoting the “executive editors” to proof readers and replace them with real managers with MBAs.

Major newspapers have been monopolies, owned by absentee, wealthy families who let left wing editors with a life-long hate for business, run the show.  

 

 

 

A look at the mind set of newspaper columnists and journalists as security boxes their belongings

By Mick Gregory

After the spring break/Easter holiday retail promotions, newspapers have a long, low period of advertising drop off, followed closely by subscription and single-copy sales declines. That’s when the next big wave of head-count cuts usually hits. It’s as predictable as a 2-hour commute in So Cal. The newsrooms don’t see it coming any better than hogs at a Bakersfield slaughter house. I take that back, hogs do get the picture about five minutes before the drill.

UPDATE:
(CAN YOU IMAGINE? WRITERS COMING UP WITH THEIR OWN HEADLINES?)

Word out of the Los Angeles Daily Journal newsroom is that the legal paper lopped off its copy desk last night — the whole thing. I’ve heard it from a few sources, one of whom emails that deadlines will be pushed earlier in the day, writers are being asked to suggest their own headlines and line editors will back read each other’s edited copy. The editor staffing was already thin, with recent departures not replaced. Emails one staffer:

Honestly, how do you put out a paper without a copy desk? We’re all very shell-shocked. The lay-offs included a veteran copy-editor who had been at the paper for 15 years, and who was completly unaware she was on the chopping block. We’re all scrambling around, trying to figure out how we’re going to keep doing our jobs without copy editors. — Kevin Roderick of the LA Observer

TIP TO PUBLISHERS: TRY USING WEB-BASED CONTENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE AND HAVE COPY EDITORS IN PUNE, INDIA DO THE EDITING FOR 20 PERCENT OF THE EXPENSE. THOUGH, GIVE YOUR WRITERS A CHANCE. ALL THEY NEED IS ABOUT A WEEK OF PRACTICE.

Here are the latest cuts:
The Seattle Times –175 to 200.
The Dizzy Dean Singleton cuts in California — bottomless.

Here is some open grieving from what was once a real fluff position, sports columnist in Southern California. Free food in the press box, jokes about the sports stars, great seats for all the best games, somebody had to do it. Well, not any more.

I have a suggestion for your exit interview, say “Pull my finger!”
And blow one a burrito/beer fart that they will remember.


‘We’re Eliminating the Position of Sports Columnist’
It took me, oh, about three seconds to process the meaning of the call from the newsroom secretary.

“Steve wants to see you in Louise’s office.”

Steve would be Steve Lambert, editor of The Sun/Bulletin/Titanic. And Louise is Louise Kopitch, head of personnel for the same foundering entities.

These days, your editor wants to see you (in tandem with the HR boss) for one reason only. And it’s not to congratulate you on being named Employee of the Year.

It was about noon, and I was in the new, north San Bernardino offices of The Sun to do my weekly IE-oriented notes column. I was going to lead with several paragraphs on Don Markham, the mad genius of Inland Empire prep football who, at age 68, is attempting to put a maraschino cherry atop his “mad genius” credentials by starting up an intercollegiate sports program (and, more importantly, to him, a football team) at something called American Sports University (current enrollment, about 30). A school planned and created by a Korean mad-genius businessman who either is about to fill a niche in academe or lose a boatload of money.

As it turns out, American Sports University is located in downtown San Bernardino in the very same collection of buildings occupied until October of 2006 by The Sun. The same buildings I reported to for my first day of work, Aug. 16, 1976, and then spent the next three decades of my working life. Later, I found that meaningful.

When the phone rang, my colleague, Michelle Gardner, had been talking to me about Cal State San Bernardino basketball, the aspect of her beat that most interests her. As usual, she was highly animated and barely paused for breath as I took the call, said, “OK,” and hung up. Michelle resumed describing the permutations of the CCAA basketball tournament and what it meant for the Division II NCAA playoffs. She was just getting warmed up. I basically had to walk away from her to answer the summons. Michelle does love her beats, and I admire her for that.

I may have laughed aloud as I went down the stairs. Certainly, I smiled. It seemed so silly. “They come for me at a random time and a random day. A Thursday. At lunch. Huh.”

I walked down the hall, looking for the personnel department offices. All the doors were closed, so I had to glance through the glass to find one occupied. I noticed a guy sitting across the walkway, a guy whom I once had worked with on a daily basis, when he was in the plate room and I would run downstairs to build the agate page. Mark Quarles. I remember wondering if he knew what I was doing down there, Thursday afternoon, and whether he might actually call out to me. Or whether it’s politically dangerous to acknowledge a Dead Man Walking.

I pushed open the door to Kopitch’s office, was invited in, and there was Lambert, looking smaller and thinner than I recalled him. Not that I had seen him often the past year, between my doing so many L.A.-oriented columns and him doing whatever it was he does. Corporate stuff, meetings off site, whatever.

I said, brightly, “I’ve been trying to think of a scenario in which this meeting is a good thing.”

Lambert said something like, “It’s not a good thing.”

I sat on the other side of Kopitch’s desk. As did Lambert, but he was turned slightly toward me and was about six feet away. Maybe that’s the way you do these things? On the same side of the desk but a bit removed? I remember a managing editor, name of Mike Whitehead, telling me, 20-odd years ago, that you never fire someone in your own office because if they insist on talking/complaining you can’t get up and leave. It’s your own office, see? So you fire people somewhere else.

Anyway, Lambert had a bit of a preamble. Something we hate to do, forced on us by economic realities, sorry … “but we’re eliminating the position of sports columnist for the Inland group.” I remember that fairly clearly, and I recall thinking “hmm, they leave it to me to grasp that I am not just a columnist but “sports columnist for the Inland group,” a title I’d never heard, let alone used. There was a flicker of “what if I were really dim, or contentious, and made him say it more directly? Like, “you’re fired.”

Lambert may have said he was sorry another time or two. How often he said it doesn’t matter because I don’t believe he meant it in the least. He could have said it 20 times or not at all and it wouldn’t have mattered. The guy hasn’t liked me since, oh, 2004, and I bet whacking me was the easiest call for him, of the 11 Sun newsroom people he fired that day. Dump a big salary (by Singleton standards) and a guy you don’t like at the same time? Easy. Fun, actually.
Continue reading

Journalists are the ‘professionals’ at analyzing corporate, political, religious, social and political issues, with ‘expert’ opinion, yet they don’t understand their own industry

Mick Gregory

2008 is turning out to be the worst of times for newspaper business. Even with the drawn-out Democrat primary election, those ads are not enough to pay for the executive editors at each of the top tier papers.

The News is out. At the San Jose Mercury News, a good 2nd tier paper, reporters were instructed to wait at home on the morning of March 7. If they don’t get a phone call by 10 a.m. telling them that they’ve lost their jobs, they should head to work. This is good risk management. You don’t want any of these far left losers going postal at the office. Their security badges or smart cards will be deactivated. Take note, risk managers at small papers, these are the steps you have to take when trimming the waste at your operation.
Update: That all went down a couple of weeks ago, but like Hillary’s super delegates, the jury is still out.

This is wave two for the Merc, the other was in 1999, window dressing KR did before they dumped it on McClatchy and the “fire sale” specialists, Singleton’s group.

What’s happening in San Jose is happening
all over the nation at a slower rate. RIFs, meaning reduction in force are initiatives at newspapers to trim their biggest expense. in California it is especially harsh because of the deep crash of the real estate bubble. Regular readers of my blog saw that coming. But that’s not all. What other industry does California have besides real estate, film, vegetables and tourism? Along with real estate, advertising in related categories such as home furnishings, hardware and even big-box electronics has been slowing to a trickle.

Last month, the Los Angeles Daily News said bye-bye to 25 more editors and reporters, paring its newsroom to 100 people from nearly twice that many a few years ago. Editor Ron Kaye kept his job, but he gave the news department a tearful address to his staff.

Employees at The LA Times had a few weeks to respond to a voluntary buyout offer aimed at eliminating 100 to 150 jobs. If not enough people volunteer, layoffs will make up the balance. The answer is in. Enough buyouts this time

If Zell’s point is that the real money is in local news, the recent experience of the Daily News, the Orange County Register and the regional dailies ringing the Bay Area — all more locally oriented than The Times — has been a discouraging counter example. Their inability to keep ad revenue from falling at double-digit percentages year over year has led to staff reductions that further hobble local news coverage.

The LA Times reductions will bring the newsroom head count to below 850. At its peak about a decade ago, the newsroom had more than 1,200 employees.

Nearly 70 union members fired at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News

Philadelphia Newspapers Lay off 68 Guild Union Members

Feb. 27, 2008

The Company laid off 68 Guild members today from the advertising, circulation, customer service, finance, marketing communications and systems departments.

“If the revenue is not there, then we have to cut expenses,” Michael Lorenca, executive vice president of Human Resources, told Guild officers. He said he did not know how much savings would result from the layoffs.

The layoff is effective March 28. However, the Company has told members to leave today and plans to reassign their work to surviving staff.

The Guild will begin working with the company to establish which of the laid off workers have “bumping rights” into other positions. That works the good old fashion union way. Those with seniority, bump those with less seniority if the position is comparable. The trouble with that is, once the laid off worker gets a lower position back, with less pay, they will soon realize they would have been better off being with the fired employees. HR gets a two-for.

Hey, maybe Hillary or Obama can save their jobs.

The Star Tribune bankrupt

By Mick Gregory

We are observing the death throws of a star on its way to becoming a white dwarf. Gasses spewing, used matter is shredded and  thrown out. The size of the once bright, powerful force rapidly shrinks as it collapses on itself. These are the telltale signs of a dying star.

The Star Tribune, once among the Midwest’s largest newspapers, was purchased by the Sacramento-based McClatchy media company in 1998. The “executive editors”  paid $1.2 billion for it from a family who wanted out of the business.

In less than 10 years, the rapid growth of Google, Drudgereport, Craigslist, E-Bay, FaceBook and WordPress lured away much of the newspaper audience and built new readers/users that were not newspaper-friendly. So the advertising found new rising stars.

Last year, Avista, a New York-based private equity group, purchased the dying Star Tribune for less than half of what McClatchy paid only eight years earlier.

Since Avista’s purchase, the star has been shedding  reporters, editors, photographers, advertising sales staff and designers through two rounds of buyouts and the elimination of open positions. That was just a show for creditors.

Now, in January of 2008, the Star-Tribune filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

The Star Tribune’s long-term business slump has continued, with revenue declining by about 25 percent, from $400 million in 2000 to $300 million last year, according to a Star Tribune story in July. While major expenses such as newsprint and transportation  increased.  Even those adult newspaper carriers throwning papers out of the window of their pickups, need to be paid.

Several weeks ago, Avista announced that it was writing down the value of its $100 million equity investment in the Star Tribune to $25 million. That’s $75 million wiped out in one year. The Star shed more than $1.15 billion in value over nine years. The new owners are getting pennies on the dollar trying to restructure their debt.

The only candidates for buying into debt-ridden newspapers now are hedge funds, especially those that make a specialty of distressed debt investments, according to several industry observers. It’s called a loan-to-own strategy, they calculate that the owners like Avista will default on their new loans and the fund becomes the new owner for pennies on the dollar. What’s left may be some downtown real estate and a false store-front Web site. This is the white dwarf stage. And there are hundreds more flickering, spewing gas and spitting out  used up matter.