Monday, December 12, 2005


NEWSPAPERS: Two bidders for Knight-Ridder; more may emerge


Monday, December 12, 2005

US: community worried about newspaper sale

Posted by John Burke

"A vibrant city depends on a vigilant and competent press." These words
from Pew Charitable Trust president and CEO Rebecca Rimel are hitting home
in the communities that Knight Ridder serves around the United States,
particularly in Philadelphia.

Since Knight Ridder puts itself up for sale, the Los Angeles Times
reported two definite first round bids had been made. These came from
investment firm Texas Pacific Group and an alliance of private equity
investors Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Blackstone Group and Providence
Equity Partners. The San Jose Mercury-News has additionally reported that
newspaper companies Gannett and McClatchy have both expressed interest in
buying the company.

Knight Ridder's largest daily, the Philadelphia Inquirer which is also the
City of Brotherly Love's largest newsgathering operation, joins the
company on the block. Some in the community are beginning to worry that
the press' check on the city government and companies will be
significantly weakened because of the job cuts accompanying the sale and
because potential buyers only seem concerned about profits.

"Because of our location between New York and Washington, our region
really does need a strong paper," said Hugh Long, head of Wachovia Bank's
operations in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of
Pennsylvania, Kathleen Hall fears "homogenized news" in Philadelphia
because of job losses in the newsroom.

As the business situation becomes increasingly precarious for newspapers
around the country, more communities are certain to begin questioning the
effects of losing the depth of investigative reporting that their local
reporters provide.

In related news, the advocacy group had a petition signed by
45,000 people protesting job cuts at the Tribune Company rejected by
Tribune executives.

Sources:, Media Giraffe Project, Editor and Publisher

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