Newspaper companies are breaking apart. Which masthead falls next?

The Tribune has rough seas ahead. This just days after the feds approve of the sinking of Knight-Ridder and the final mastheads have been gobbled up, vanished beneath the waves. The once mighty Knight-Ridder armada is no more. Ironically, the KR chain was arguably the most Web savvy of all. They had even moved their headquarters to Silicon Valley from
Miami and had an online think tank. They were the envy of the industry, known for forward thinking.
Could it be the rough sailing for Gannett, next? The short answer: maybe, according to John Fine of Business Week.  Most of the publicly traded newspaper companies either have A/B stock structures that allow a family to retain control, or have family trusts that hold enough stock to achieve the same thing. In this camp: Dow Jones, (the Wall Street Journal), New York Times Co., Scripps, McClatchy, Washington Post Co., and Media General.Another with open stock structures like Tribune and Knight Ridder is Gannett — the biggest newspaper company in the country, with total revenues of $7.6 billion and newspaper revenues of $6.4 billion. It's a company made up of a lot of small town monopolies,  but it also created  USA Today.  Since June of last year, Gannett's stock is down around 25 percent. The stock performance has been terrible and it's got lots of interesting broadcast and newspaper assets. Warning to stockholders: jump ship from newspapers while you can. There are not many lifeboats like McClatchy and Dean Singleton left to pick up survivors.


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