Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:05 pm

$41M will cover a lot of 401k matching contributions. Just sayin’.

Filed under: Journalism — Lex @ 7:05 pm
Tags: , ,

Athenae at First Draft posts fairly frequently on how the troubles of the newspaper bidness ought to be blamed less on content problems and Internet competition and more on the butt-stupid business management of the industry.

She’s gonna love this, and by “love,” I mean “vomit over”:

Dennis FitzSimons, the former CEO of the Tribune Company who walked out the door with $41 million after engineering the disastrous sale of the company to Sam Zell, has just joined the board of directors of Media General.

The board seat was created just for him.

“’Dennis FitzSimons is a proven and innovative business leader who led a premier media company through times of outstanding growth and tough challenges,’ said Marshall N. Morton, Media General’s president and chief executive officer, in a filing with the Securites and Exchange Commission,” according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. “‘His industry knowledge and experience with the changing media landscape and the synergies of print, broadcast and online platforms will bring a valuable perspective to the Media General board’s deliberations’.” …

“Like other newspaper publishers, Media General has been cutting jobs and other costs because of declining advertising and readers moving to the Internet,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “It has closed its Washington bureau, suspended its dividend and 401(k) match and required workers to take a 10-day furlough.”

A friend and former colleague of mine lost her job when Media General closed that Washington bureau, so this is kind of personal. And if you care about the health of the Winston-Salem Journal, Reidsville Review and/or Eden Daily News — and it’s at least statistically possible that some of you still do — you should know that Media General owns them.

(Not to take anything away from Sam Zell’s stupidity — there wasn’t a chance in hell he was going to be able to keep Tribune afloat with all the debt he took on when he bought the company. Still.)

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