Newspaper Roundup: Gannett; AH Belo; WaPo


imageGannett’s debt edges toward junk status: Moody’s Investors Service, which recently relegated the NYTCo’s debt to junk status, has put Gannett’s senior unsecured debt a one notch closer that level. The credit agency lowered Gannett (NYSE: GCI) to a Baa3, its lowest-investment grade rating, from Baa2. Moody’s warned that Gannett’s debt is under review for another downgrade. If lowered to junk, Gannett would have a tougher time raising debt, as certain lenders are precluded to purchasing non-investment grade credit, or junk bonds.

AH Belo, Morris, get more time on the debt clock: On a brighter credit note, Dallas’ AH Belo (NYSE: AHC) (NYSE: BLC) and Augusta, GA’s Morris Publishing, both got their respective creditors to give them more time to pay back their loans. AH Belo, publisher of The Dallas Morning News, got a new agreement with JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and others that gives it until April 30, 2011 to pay its debt. Separately, Morris, which owns The Topeka Capital-Journal, got a breather after missing a $9.7 million interest payment on $278 million that is due on Feb. 9. The new terms allows the company avoid default on the missed payment until March 3.

WaPo’s editorial board gets ‘interactive’: The “Letters to the Editor” feature in practically every newspaper has been the oldest form of interactivity. WaPo’s editorial board is trying to update that part of the opinions section with a new online discussion group where readers can debate editors directly. The discussion feature can be found on WaPo’s opinions page here.

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