Stop the presses! Good news for the news biz today!
Unbelievable but totally true – there’s some good news in the newspaper industry today. Not only is Gannett – the biggest publisher of newspapers in the country – trading 2 cents higher today than yesterday (a whopping $2.46 a share) but the New York Times is up 20 cents, or $4.43, a buck more than its 52-week low.
Couple that with some other surprising news. Gannett announced in January its Tucson Citizen in Arizona would publish its last paper Saturday unless a buyer surfaced. As of March 16, it looked like the inevitable would happen and Arizona’s oldest newspaper would cease publication.
Today there was a bidding war for the Citizen and negotiations won’t be complete before Saturday. So the presses won’t be stopping after all. Of course everything is in discussions and the end result could nonetheless be closure. But for now it’s business as usual.
Well, not exactly as usual. Employees are said to be scrambling, some having new jobs or other plans lined up, others fretting over severance packages that may be lost under presumed new ownership layoffs. People are upset about the turmoil, and rightfully so. It’s unlikely new owners will step in and keep every person in place, exactly as is.
But the bottom line is two undisclosed buyers see value in this 17,000 circulation daily whereas just a few days prior, the vultures were circling.
That’s not all. The San Diego Tribune in California -- which has been up for sale since last summer -- was snatched up by the private equity firm Platinum Equity for an undisclosed price. The firm is said to be headed by David Black of Black Press, which runs several Canadian papers.
OK, I know there’s still way more bad news than good, as Seattle just stopped publishing the print edition of the Seattle Intelligencer in favor of web-only (leaving only the Seattle Times -- Thanks Ablonde for pointing this out), and three Philadelphia-area papers will stop publishing on Saturdays. But sometimes you just have to look on the bright side.