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Is the Boston Globe worth $250 million, or should its owner, the New York Times, pay someone up to $40 million to take the newspaper off its hands? That's how wide the spread is in a David Carr column in today's (June 15) New York Times. (Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!) Carr asked a number of experts what the Globe was worth. The high was $250 million, and several said it was worth zero or less than that. One said the Times should pay $20 million to $40 million for a buyer to take the money-losing New England paper. Ken Doctor, a newspaper analyst, bluntly states in today's Washington Post, and also in Carr's column, that the value is "a buck." The buyer would be taking a liability, headache and a distraction off the New York Times's hands, he says Doctor points out that the most recent sale of a newspaper was of the U-T, "a deeply-mediocre newspaper in a widely monied metro area" that was once coveted by newspaper chains. Doctor, like The Reader, believes the U-T went for $50 million.

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Comments

HellcatCopley June 15, 2009 @ 12:20 p.m.

"deeply-mediocre newspaper"???? Why be so nice about it?

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Don Bauder June 15, 2009 @ 12:27 p.m.

Response to post #1: Well, it might be a bit euphemistic. Many columnists are like that. None that write for the Reader, though. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 June 15, 2009 @ 1:25 p.m.

If the UT, a "mediocre" paper, sold for $50 million, why would the NY Times have to PAY $40 million for someone to take the BG?

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nomaddmh June 15, 2009 @ 2:07 p.m.

Possibly because of the value of the UT's real-estate holdings versus the BG? I would imagine sans the land and buildings, the UT would never have sold for that much, if at all. Anyone know if the BG has any decent land holdings?

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SurfPuppy619 June 15, 2009 @ 2:28 p.m.

Then David Copley essentailly gave the UT away, and the deal was basically a low ball real estate transaction.

I think the real estate was worth $35-$50 million.

3 years ago it would have been worht $300 million

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Don Bauder June 15, 2009 @ 4:37 p.m.

Response to post #3: The editorial quality of the newspaper is barely a factor. Since the U-T was, I am relatively certain, given away for the discounted value of real estate, the question about the Globe would be just that: what real estate assets would go into the deal? I would imagine the NY Times keeps that close to its vest. The Globe franchise itself may be given away. Or somebody may be paid to take it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 15, 2009 @ 4:41 p.m.

Response to post #4: That question is discussed above. The U-T had some good real estate assets that it could sell at a discount -- a lure for Platinum to buy the newspaper. The flipping of the real estate should give Platinum a cushion to try to make money with the paper. As to the Globe, I simply don't know about its real estate. It is owned by the NY Times, which has owned the paper since the early '90s. (It paid more than $1 billion.) It may want to throw some real estate into the deal entice a buyer, as the U-T did, in my opinion. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 15, 2009 @ 4:43 p.m.

Response to post #5: That has been my thesis on this blog for some time now. Copley sold the real estate assets at a discounted price to entice Platinum to take the money-losing paper. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 June 15, 2009 @ 5:04 p.m.

How much did Copley's yacht cost?

I thought it was around $30 million. If that is true his play toy cost as much as the tnrie UT was sold for.

I wonder how Helen would have handled the situation?????? She would have faced the exact same hard choices everyone else is now facing in the daily metro paper business.

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Don Bauder June 15, 2009 @ 7:53 p.m.

Response to post #9: David Copley's yacht cost $33 million. But my understanding is that it requires a full-time crew that costs a lot. Helen would have handled this much better. She had a good business head on her shoulders. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 15, 2009 @ 8:22 p.m.

Has it occurred to anyone that an organization that paid $1 billion, less than 20 years ago, for a newspaper that is now worth "a buck", is deeply flawed? Does that reflect, even a little, on what the New York Times reports? I'm as amazed as anyone that a NYT reporter tells the world that the Boston Globe is worthless (or worse), and gets the story printed in his employer's paper.

The newspaper industry is a strange place. It now has the task of reporting its own demise. And if it does a really good job of that, it points out the flaws of itself--which are many--and further disillusions the public. Where does all this end? Will we soon see the day when the last metro daily in the US announces it is printing its last edition? Yes, a strange outcome.

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Don Bauder June 15, 2009 @ 10:39 p.m.

Response to post #11: I admire the Times for permitting its own columnists to point out the company's flaws and past mistakes. That is good journalism. When you see it, it's a sign of a solid newspaper. The dirty laundry has to be aired, even if it's internal. Best, Don Bauder

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pedrochavez1114 June 15, 2009 @ 10:48 p.m.

Don,

Again, there's more evidence that newspaper folks just don't get it. That's why the ax is falling hard on the business. And it's sad, because newsprint runs in my veins. I love and respect the trade and the value that good journalism provides towards keeping us free. It it weren't for all those wayward, hard-nosed writing folks that pay no attention to bullets or threats or nothing else, but to their mission to report on what's going on, I wouldn't be here today writing on this blog.

My point? How can newspapers survive if the Marie Antoinettes at the U-T and other major dailies continue to feed us pie -- sorry, crap -- instead of the relevant news that we need? Sunday's U-T had a lead story on the tough times that high-end time share holders are having. No truffles, no foie gras for the poor folks sharing their sorrows at some north county lux de delux summer place. Oh, I feel soooo bad for them!

But wait, gotta tell you about today's page one lead story -- in case you haven't read it. More sad news: "High-end homeowners now feeling the pinch." Some can't unload the mansions that they bought a few years ago, while betting on the come and hoping to benefit from the upswinging market. One of these poor folks has a home on the market for $4.5 million, but feels he's only going to get $3.8 mil for it. Of course, he only paid $2 mil for his La Jolla jewel back in 2000. But, you know, times are tough for the well-to-do folks, too. That's why the U-T gotta report on 'em. Ughhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

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David Dodd June 15, 2009 @ 11:32 p.m.

"Deeply mediocre" describing the U-T is a gift. It has sucked, and sucked for years, even before the current trend.

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Don Bauder June 16, 2009 @ 8:54 a.m.

Response to post #13: The affluent and super-affluent are the U-T's main and most reliable market -- its base, so to speak. Why do you think there is all that coverage of the BPs? So the paper caters to that market. It must have it if it is to survive. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 16, 2009 @ 8:58 a.m.

Response to post #14: The U-T thrived for many years with a weak editorial product. It is now losing money, but the editorial product remains sub-par. As someone who has spent almost 50 years in the business, I would love to say that there is a correlation between editorial quality and profits. Alas, I don't know that I can say that. Best, Don Bauder

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HellcatCopley June 16, 2009 @ 10:13 a.m.

Marketing to the San Diego rich is required for the UT. The major advertisers, such as Macy's, neither need or want the poor of San Diego to visit them. Back in the late 90s, circulation started to seriously ebb in the "spine." The spine ran from Mission Hills to Hillcrest, to North Park, etc. This was always a stronghold of home delivery. Circulation kept bringing this disturbing trend to the attention of la Winner, who responded with contests to select a comic strip to replace Mary Worth.

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Don Bauder June 16, 2009 @ 1:58 p.m.

Response to post #17: I remember making myself extremely unpopular with the editors back in the late 1970s or early 1980s when I kept saying that the market share of the Union and Tribune (then separate) was poor when compared with other similar cities. However, Helen Copley and the president of the company, Hubert Kaltenbach, appreciated the data I provided. Kaltenbach agreed with me and Helen at least thanked me for sending the information. Nothing happened until about 20 years later, when the U-T (by then the papers were combined) launched a big effort to raise the market share. But it was too late: the market share kept plunging, which it is still doing today. I am NOT saying that if the company had paid attention to market share in the late 1970s or 1980s that there would have been tremendous improvement. There could have been some moderate gains, but the factors that shot down the paper in recent years could not have been thwarted. Best, Don Bauder

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JimG June 17, 2009 @ 4:32 a.m.

Response to #12: There may be another angle to the Times' openness. They could well be using the reporter to squeeze more concessions out of the unions. What a mess. The Globe was exponentially better than the U.T., in terms of writing quality and it is still in danger of failing. Apparently (and sadly), the quality of the printed product doesn't make much of a difference.

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 6:36 a.m.

Response to post #19: It's possible the columnist is being used to squeeze more concessions out of the union. However, that is the kind of Machiavellian strategy that is effectuated silently, or with a wink and a nod. The editors wouldn't overtly tell a columnist to do that. Or, at least, SHOULDN'T do so. But who knows these days? Best, Don Bauder

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JimG June 17, 2009 @ 8:11 a.m.

Oh, no, I didn't mean to imply that the columnist is complicit. Methinks the columnist is being fed something that ain't quite Kosher.

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JakeSD June 17, 2009 @ 8:59 a.m.

As Don said, the U-T had some valuable assets. Also, they dont have close to the same union that the Globe does. Plus since the Globe thinks of itself as a world-class paper (which it is not), it has many highly paid editors, columnists, etc. in-house vs. U-T which relies on AP and other sydicated stories and so their operating costs are much higher.

JimG, I wouldnt say the Globe is exponentially better in terms of writing and in fact, the Globe columns (not Op-Ed) often have much more opinion than fact. The Globe has also had its share of columnists exposed as plagiarists or fabricators (Mike Barnicle, Patricia Smith, Jeffe Jacoby, Ron Borges).

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 9:42 a.m.

Response to post #21: Speaking as a columnist of going on four decades, I can personally attest that I have been fed plenty of b.s. in my time, and too many times I naively passed it on to readers. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 9:51 a.m.

Response to post #22: The U-T had three things that were attractive to a potential purchaser: 1. It had shed most of its debt; 2. It had gotten rid of the guild, although it still had (and has) some deep union problems; 3. It had real estate assets that it could discount. The Globe has more trouble with truculent unions, and its debts really are the responsibility of the Times -- depending on terms of the deal. I have no idea about the real estate assets that would come in a potential deal. After all, those assets have belonged to the Times since the early '90s. The Globe has a higher-quality editorial product than the U-T, but I do not believe editorial quality is a major factor in the valuation of a newspaper (unfortunately). Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 June 17, 2009 @ 10:29 a.m.

Speaking as a columnist of going on four decades, I can personally attest that I have been fed plenty of b.s. in my time, and too many times I naively passed it on to readers. Best, Don Bauder

By dbauder

You may have been fed some BS on occassion but you were by far the best columnist the UT had, and certainly one of the best business columnist I had ever read. And I'm not saying that just to blow sunshine up your ***, I'm serious.

I am sure there were many UT readers that bought the paper because of your column.

Heck, I have been known to buy (or not buy) a paper based on it's comic strips (must have Marmaduke, Dilbert and Bliss or I'm not buying it-it's that simple!).

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JustWondering June 17, 2009 @ 1:12 p.m.

That certainly was a ringing endorsement.

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SurfPuppy619 June 17, 2009 @ 3:35 p.m.

That certainly was a ringing endorsement.

Marmaduke will thank me later I'm sure, as I am his #1 fan.

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 5:15 p.m.

Response to post #25: That is very kind of you to say, but at the U-T I would usually write seven columns a week, and often several news stories to boot. Sometimes I would have eleven byline items in a week. I can assure you that in shoveling out so many words, I reported some horse manure that I should have sniffed out. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 5:17 p.m.

Response to post #26: I confess I know of Marmaduke and Dilbert, but I have never heard of Bliss. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 5:21 p.m.

Response to post #27: How about Beetle Bailey, Blondie, and Barney Google and Snuffy Smith? They have my endorsement. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd June 17, 2009 @ 5:49 p.m.

Don, how can you forget Rube Goldberg?

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SurfPuppy619 June 17, 2009 @ 7:56 p.m.

I confess I know of Marmaduke and Dilbert, but I have never heard of Bliss. Best, Don Bauder

Harry Bliss-he's everywhere;

http://www.gocomics.com/bliss/

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 9:35 p.m.

Response to post #31: Rube Goldberg was wonderful. "Our Boarding House" with Major Hoople was the best. Alas, both are gone now. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 17, 2009 @ 9:37 p.m.

Response to post #32: Even after seeing your link, Bliss is drawing a blank with me. Best, Don Bauder

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pedrochavez1114 June 18, 2009 @ 10:19 a.m.

Don, A few years back, when the U-T talked about changing the comic strips lineup, I wrote the following poem for my daughter. She had complained that the strips weren't funny at all. Here it is. Thanks.

Grown Up Comics

There’s no Pluto, no Bugs Bunny, there’s no Popeye, nothing funny on the pages of our paper. There’s no Henry, Nancy’s gone, Uncle Scrooge is on the phone, Donald Duck’s against the caper.

It’s now Dilbert and Luann, Frank and Ernest, Zits and Cathy and a basset that’s no Lassie.

Adult comics make no sense, but they bring in more than cents. It’s the money, we’re no dummies. Now the children watch the tube while grown ups on the move get their kicks from sober funnies.

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Don Bauder June 18, 2009 @ 9:46 p.m.

Response to post #35: You're a good poet. I'm wondering if the U-T and other newspapers aren't sorry they went in for adult funnies. The young people don't read newspapers. If they had been teethed on them through Popeye, the situation may be different -- at least, somewhat. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2009 @ 9:47 p.m.

Response to post #36: Pedro is our T.S. Eliot. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 19, 2009 @ 9:04 p.m.

Luann, a local cartoonist's product, is funny. If you have or deal with teenagers, it hits right on constantly. And the other teenager column, Zits, can be even better. Oh, what's funny about dealing with teenagers? Simple: if you can't laugh at your situation, you'll cry.

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Don Bauder June 19, 2009 @ 11:14 p.m.

Response to post #39: It seems to me that the strip Drabble featured a young man who was a freshman in college, and a real klutz, along with his father. I used to enjoy that one. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 20, 2009 @ 6:53 p.m.

Drabble is still there. It is more about a dysfunctional yet harmless family. Its points hit all generations. I agree, it is one of the better ones. Years ago they had one called Kudzu about a southern version of Drabble. I liked it, but it was dropped. Will some body tell me why Mary Worth is still in ANY newspaper?

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Don Bauder June 20, 2009 @ 8:28 p.m.

Response to post #41: I'm glad to hear Drabble is still around. As I recall, Papa Drabble and young Drabble (the college freshman) were both dumbbells; the mother had a head on her shoulders and tried to keep them out of trouble; the young boy (maybe 8 years old) was actually bright. Don't know Kudzu and never read Mary Worth. Hell, I never read Smilin' Jack or Dr. Morgan or Brenda Starr and only occasionally read Gasoline Alley. Does that confession reveal my age? Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 June 22, 2009 @ 5:58 p.m.

I'm glad to hear Drabble is still around. As I recall, Papa Drabble and young Drabble (the college freshman) were both dumbbells; the mother had a head on her shoulders and tried to keep them out of trouble; the young boy (maybe 8 years old) was actually bright.

Now I have to check this strip out!!!!

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Don Bauder June 22, 2009 @ 10:43 p.m.

Response to post #43: I like it but haven't seen it in more than six years. Best, Don Bauder

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