Blog Post

Newspaper Roundup: Seattle P-I; Post-Dispatch; Dow Jones; Sun Times; Journal Reg; Warren Buffett

imageSeattle P-I future uncertain: Seattle could be a one newspaper town, according to KING-TV, which was told by an unidentified source that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer could be closed if its parent, Hearst Corp., can’t find a buyer. The source said Hearst regards a sale as unlikely. Hearst didn’t comment on the report, but both the paper’s publisher and managing editor said they have no knowledge of plans to close or sell the paper, however.

St. Louis P-D issues yet another round of layoffs: With its parent Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) facing possible default and a net income loss, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has laid off another 39 staffers. The newsroom will lose 14 members. This latest round of cuts follows September’s 20 layoffs. In March, 31 were let go. In addition to the wider economic woes afflicting the paper, it accepted 190 buyouts between 2005, when Lee got the paper following the acquisition of the Post-Dispatch’s parent, Pulitzer Inc. And much of Lee’s heavy indebtedness stems from that purchase.

Dow Jones freezes salaries: With media layoffs having hit the highest point since 2001, it’s hardly surprising that Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) is imposing a one-year wage freeze. In a memo, DJ CEO Les Hinton pleaded for understanding, saying that taking this action now would mitigate future job losses. DJ joins NYTCo (NYSE: NYT), which said last month there would be no raises this year. More after the jump

Sun-Times won’t prolong battle against dissident investor: As its proxy war continues against Davidson Kempner Capital Management, which has been trying to replace The Sun-Times Media Group’s board, the Chicago publisher said it will ultimately accept shareholders’ decision on the matter. The Chicago publisher calls Davidson Kempner’s plan “ill-conceived” and has been trying to defend its own $50 million cost-cutting plan.

Last minute reprieve for Bristol Press, Herald (via Romenesko): The Journal Register-owned Connecticut dailies were about two weeks away from stopping the presses for good, but Michael Schroeder, owner of Central Connecticut Communications, has stepped in with an offer to buy. The deal also gets Schroeder, a former Newsday exec, three weeklies as well: the Wethersfield Post, the Newington Town Crier and the Rocky Hill Post.

Even Buffett-backed paper not immune: The Buffalo News, an upstate New York daily owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has set a target of 300 of its roughly 1,000-member workforce it would like to take a buyout. The paper doesn’t expect to have that many staffers step forward, however. In August, only a dozen employees took a buyout offer meant for over 100.