Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Money for the Miami Herald. By Geniusofdespair

How do we get money to keep the Miami Herald afloat? First read our introductory post which explains what I am trying to do on this site.

I think what we have to do is what the Auto Industry should have been doing: get a a dose of reality which would make the Miami Herald a lot cheaper to buy.

The Herald has put a lot of money and energy into attracting young readers. The auto industry meanwhile, has continued creating gas guzzlers. Both are useless endeavors.

The Herald should bank on making a paper that has a place but the old model is gone, just like the guzzlers. They have to adjust to a smaller market and tailor their paper to the market they have. The twenty somethings are not going to read a paper newspaper. Maybe they will when they get older, but not now. So give it up Miami Herald and do a new business plan that makes sense of what you have, not what you want.

Miami Herald Ombudsman weighs in on Miami Herald Plight. By Geniusofdespair

Read Miami Herald Ombudsman report from 12/16/08.

He says:
"...21st-century technology may be driving U.S. media back to a 19th-century business model. What I didn't expect, in a jolt of double irony, is that The Miami Herald itself might be the first major paper to regress."

"But what technology giveth, it can taketh way. The digital revolution has made websites, radio and cable television so much cheaper to produce that they have proliferated, segmenting the market and undercutting newspapers and traditional television news programs."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Miami Herald's Money Woes. By geniusofdespair

I have been kidding around about the newspaper (see post below this one) but it really has me distressed. As much as I criticize the Miami Herald, I can’t imagine life here in Miami without it: an independent news source that actually pays reporters to dig up evil doings. Well, I guess I can imagine what it would be like, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. I wonder how editorials are doing over at the Wall Street Journal now? We would be seeing news through the eyes of whomever has the money to spare to buy the paper. That is not news. That is propaganda.

Governor Blagojevich of Illinois, among other things tried to intimidate a failing newspaper. He told the Chicago Tribune that the Illinois Finance Authority would only assist in the sale of Wrigley Field (one of the Tribune’s cash cows) if the paper fired its editorial board. Newspapers need to be independent, this is an example of what money woes can do to our quest for truth. What if the paper had agreed to his demands? He would not have been criticized any longer, the public would not know the truth about him.

I am not much for actual thinking today, but you get my drift, my fear: A Lobbyist/Developer/Power Broker owned newspaper. And, maybe worse, all the money woes today will influence the career choices of brilliant students, away from journalism tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Well, who out there has some money to burn? By Geniusofdespair

I want to buy the Miami Herald. I have one missing piece of the puzzle which I was hoping you might supply. Email me where I can pick up your check: Geniusofdespair@yahoo.com.

I did a quick calculation on what I need to collect. The Knight Ridder publishing company owns 8 Miami Herald parcels totaling about $95,000,000 in assessed value. Obviously I don't want the land or the decrepit buildings on them. I will just publish out of my house so I want to purchase the paper's brand and I need a sturdy, reliable copy machine. I would suppose I have to collect at least $7,000 ($2,000 for the paper itself and $5,000 for the laser copy machine). By the way reporters: You get to keep your job and you get a substantial raise for agreeing to house a laser printer in your home and supply your own copy paper.


P.S. In case you have noticed, the COMMENTS are new, not the posts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh My! Jorge Perez and Alfonso Fanjul Want to Buy the Miami Herald! By Geniusofdespair

This sounds like pretty scary news to me. You had better get those checks into us!

Tribune Co. seeks Chapter 11 protection from creditors
Hit hard by the recession and loss of advertising to the Internet, a major newspaper company has filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors.

Media giant Tribune Co., owner of the Sun Sentinel, filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors Monday in the first filing for a major newspaper company amid mounting industry woes.

The filing comes as Miami real estate developer Jorge Perez confirmed Monday that he and Florida sugar magnate Alfonso Fanjul held talks with executives from the McClatchy Co. and The Miami Herald Media Co. about a possible sale of the Miami paper.

''Nothing has materialized,'' said Perez, chairman of Related Group in Miami.

Perez said he met a couple times with newspaper executives about a month ago but hasn't talked since.

''It didn't proceed any further than that, at least on my side,'' Perez said.

Fanjul, CEO of West Palm Beach-based Florida Crystals, couldn't be reached immediately for comment.

It isn't clear whether McClatchy -- whose stock has slid 80 percent this year -- has met with other potential buyers.

''It's absolutely not our policy to comment on any market discussions of any acquisitions or dispositions,'' said Elaine Lintecum, treasurer of Sacramento, Calif.-based McClatchy, which owns 28 other daily newspapers in addition to The Herald and El Nuevo Herald.

The newspaper industry is in upheaval as it confronts a severe recessionary downturn in advertising just as it is coping with a structural revolution as advertisers and readers shift to the Internet.

Although newspapers are moving rapidly to adapt to the Web, with multimedia content and continuous news updates, the new revenue from online hasn't grown fast enough to make up for the lost revenue from advertising and circulation at the printed newspaper.

John Morton, president of Morton Research, in Silver Spring, Md. said ``half or more of the advertising revenue of big city newspapers comes from classified ads -- from auto, real estate and job formation. And all three are in the tank since the middle of last year and unlikely to come out of it until the latter part of '09 or 2010.''

But the larger question, Morton said, is ``how much of what newspapers have lost will they be able to get back when the recovery comes.''

The Chicago-based Tribune Co. also prints the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune and owns a string television stations. It owns the Cubs and Wrigley Field, home of the baseball team, which aren't included in the filing.

Tribune Co. has $13 billion in debt and $7.6 billion in assets. The company was taken private a year ago by billionaire Sam Zell.

Although Tribune's next major principal payment on the debt of nearly $600 million isn't due until June, Tribune has been in danger of missing lender-imposed financial targets at year's end.

To generate additional cash, the Tribune has been looking to sell the Cubs, Wrigley Field and the company's 25 percent stake in a regional sports cable channel.

In a memo to employees, Zell said: ``We will continue to operate our business as usual.''

He added that the Chapter 11 petition would enable the company to restructure its debt.

This summer, Atlanta-based media company Cox Enterprises said it was selling all but three of its dozens of papers but plans to keep the Palm Beach Post.

McClatchy Co., parent company of The Miami Herald, itself took on significant debt when it purchased Knight Ridder, former owner of The Miami Herald, in 2006. It's carrying $2.07 billion in debt, which it has been paying down.

By Dec. 31, the company expects to close on a sale of 10-acres surrounding The Miami Herald's bayfront offices for $190 million. It plans to pay down debt with proceeds from that deal.

McClatchy has said in public filings that the credit crunch could affect the buyers' ability to get financing. ''If the deal doesn't go through, we will have a valuable piece of land we can sell to someone else,'' Lintecum said.

But the prime real estate owned by McClatchy is the waterfront site of the Herald building. It was not part of the parking lot deal.

Perez, a residential builder facing his own financial challenges amid the housing downturn, said the real estate wasn't his primary interest in The Miami Herald. ``It is a fantastic asset for this community and I would love to see The Herald in local hands.''

This report was supplemented with material from The Associated Press.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Where we heard about the sale...curiously not from the Miami Herald. By Geniusofdespair

December 6, 2008 - The New York Times
The Miami Herald Is Said to Be for Sale

The McClatchy Company, burdened by debt and a steep slide in newspaper advertising, wants to sell one of its most-prized properties, The Miami Herald, according to people briefed on the company’s plans.

McClatchy, the nation’s third-largest newspaper chain, has approached potential buyers for The Herald, said these people, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue. But they said they knew of no serious offers for the paper, reflecting the evaporation of major investors’ interest in buying newspapers.

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

The Herald is one of the largest of McClatchy’s 30 daily papers, with daily circulation of 210,000, and arguably the most prestigious, having won 19 Pulitzer Prizes. But it is not clear what kind of bids it might fetch, if any; with newspaper profits shrinking fast, the economy contracting and credit tight, many newspapers have been on the block for months without selling.

The people briefed on the company’s plans say The Herald generates a very slim operating margin and that the most attractive part of any deal could be its prime waterfront real estate. But the Florida real estate market is in deep recession — one of the reasons for the struggles of the paper, which used to benefit from heavy real estate advertising.

The bid to sell The Herald continues the fallout from McClatchy’s $4.5 billion purchase in 2006 of Knight Ridder, the newspaper chain that had owned the Miami paper. Largely as a result of that deal the company has about $2 billion in debt, payments on which eat up much of its cash flow.

Some Wall Street analysts warned at the time that McClatchy, based in Sacramento, had overpaid, but even they did not expect the steep decline in newspaper advertising that began months later and has accelerated this year.

The drop has been most pronounced in Florida and California, states where McClatchy has a major presence. Through the first 10 months of this year, the company’s ad revenue fell 14.7 percent in other parts of the country, and 22.5 percent in California and Florida.

McClatchy reported third-quarter income of $4.2 million on $451.6 million in revenue. The company’s stock price, which topped $75 a share in 2005, closed on Friday at $2.20.