For profit potential, newspapers are not attractive investments today. In fact, operating returns, if they exist at all, are ancillary. The primary purpose now is to affect public opinion and leverage that influence for benefits quite distinct from journalism.
Years ago, wealth managers, consolidators and speculators began to succeed proprietors who focused on journalism. Families like the Grahams, Sulzbergers and Chandlers prepared for retirement while would-be publishers like Zell, Black and Asper, operating on a wing, a prayer and massive greed, steered the properties onto unseen shoals.
Angelo, Gordon and Co. has a senior debt position in troubled Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, publisher of the Inquirer and the Daily News. The private investor also has a big stake in the Tribune Company, which owns The LA Times and The Chicago Tribune; Freedom Communications, which owns The Orange County Register; and The Star Tribune in Minneapolis. The companies also own a multitude of other media properties including newspapers, radio and television stations.
Philly newspaper man Brian Tierney says Angelo, Gordon & Co. is:
“a secretive hedge fund that has its fingers on the throat of The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune and will someday, they hope, basically control the news in three of the four largest news markets in the country if they are able to capture Philadelphia as well.”
Ian from the blog EastoftheSun asked, “Is there a more wretched newspaper than the Vancouver Sun?” Ian wondered if real news coverage is important to senior people in Vancouver media.
I added a comment at EastoftheSun that includes this:
Ian Haysom, that prized investigative journalist who is news director for Global News in BC writes a regular column. The last few include, listing back from the current one, whether Ricky Martin’s music will be affected by his coming out, how we should remember the resurrected Jesús, memories of Davey Crockett and the cowboys and golfing in Arizona.
Is this funny, crazy or both? Of course, Haysom approved the recent Global TV “scoop” providing a series of manufactured pieces doing a pre-release of Kevin Falcon’s latest move toward privatization of healthcare.
I suggest the remaining professional journalists in this town have little self-respect if they avoid speaking out. These people are like passengers in a sinking rowboat who have stopped bailing and are simply waiting to swim away at the best moment.