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Sun-Times Media Group today (March 31) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and intends to continue operating. The paper has a weekday circulation of 300,000 and Sunday of 250,000. The company operates 59 papers. In December, Chicago's Tribune Co., which includes the Los Angeles Times, filed for bankruptcy. The Minneapolis Star Tribune went into bankruptcy the next month, followed by the Philadelphia company that operates the Inquirer and Daily News. The Journal Register Co., which publishes the New Haven Register and many other papers, has also filed for bankruptcy. The Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer have shut down operations, and Hearst Corp. is threatening to shutter the San Francisco Chronicle. Detroit's two newspaper have cut back home delivery to three days a week. San Diego's Copley Press, which intends to sell itself to a private equity group in the second quarter, sold a group of Chicago suburban and exurban papers to the Sun-Times parent (then named Hollister) in 2000.

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Comments

shizzyfinn April 1, 2009 @ 9:05 a.m.

Mr. Bauder, with newspapers dying around the country, what do you think of the idea of a national press corps? Something akin to Britain's BBC News, except with a local focus, instead of the BBC News' international bent.

The federal government could employ a certain number of reporters per capita in cities across the country, who would be charged with a BBC-type mission of "inform, educate, entertain." Seems like one way to restore the dwindling number of local-coverage reporters across the country, with the added benefit of creating jobs.

And the money spent would be well worth it, considering the costs we'll all bear if local journalism is allowed to continue to wither, giving local politicians have that much more freedom from scrutiny. Indeed, the cost of a national press corps could be considered a maintenance payment on our democracy.

Just putting it out there...

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Don Bauder April 1, 2009 @ 1:49 p.m.

Response to post #1: But would the reporters really have the freedom to do investigative reporting? Conservative administrations have screamed at public radio and TV getting federal money. As a result, coverage softened. I am not saying it would not work, however. BBC does a good job. One roadblock is that the government is already subsidizing so many industries (particularly finance and autos) that the public is understandably aroused. Journalists are not held in high esteem by the public; the polls show this. I don't know that politicians would even raise the point. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi April 4, 2009 @ 7:18 a.m.

Just a random comment; Microsoft has quietly announced the death of their encyclopedia product Encarta. They lost the battle to online Wikipedia.

Online content is updated faster than print or CD-ROM based information. That is what is basically happening to newspapers. All of their content can be found faster and mostly for fee elsewhere.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/microsoft-encarta-dies-after-long-battle-with-wikipedia/

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Don Bauder April 4, 2009 @ 10:44 a.m.

Response to post #3: Yours is a very perceptive comment. You have fingered one of the major problems with newspapers. By the time they deliver the news to the doorstep, the really savvy audience has read it -- perhaps 12 hours before. And it is that savvy market that so many advertisers want to reach. Newspapers don't do the job anymore. The future is online; now companies have to figure out how to make it profitable. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 4, 2009 @ 11:36 a.m.

GOOD/BAD NEWSPAPER NEWS: Hearst Corp. said Friday (April 3) that it is making significant headway on cutting costs at its San Francisco Chronicle, and may not have to follow through on earlier threats to close down the daily. Hearst said the cuts may restore profitability. However, the New York Times has threatened to close down the Boston Globe, a paper it owns, unless unions quickly agree to $20 million in concessions, union leaders said. Executives of the Times and Globe had a 90 minute meeting with representatives of 13 unions Thursday. The executives demanded pay cuts, the end of company pension contributions, and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees enjoyed by some veteran employees. Without cuts, the Globe will lose $85 million this year, on top of a $57.8 million loss in 2008, said the Times.

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pascal April 6, 2009 @ 3:15 p.m.

Response to post #5: "...lifetime job guarantees enjoyed by some veteran employees" at The Globe!!??? Holy Cow! Don, did these also exist at the UT when you were there? If so, no wonder the other employees there simply got rid of that union a few years ago. Who could support that?

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Don Bauder April 7, 2009 @ 7:57 a.m.

Response to post #6: Sure. David Copley had a lifetime job guarantee. Seriously, though, there was no such lifetime jobs guarantee at the U-T. So it wasn't a factor in employees voting out the guild. Best, Don Bauder

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pascal April 7, 2009 @ 8:57 a.m.

Response to post #7: Now THAT was funny! Of course, looks like his "guarantee" will run out in a few more weeks.

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Don Bauder April 7, 2009 @ 8:11 p.m.

Response to post #8: Yes, but he voluntarily gave up his guarantee of lifetime employment. And we don't know that his guarantee has run out. Copley Press retains some of the equity in the company after Platinum takes over. David may be on the payroll permanently. That doesn't mean that he will be making decisions. He wasn't making the big decisions when he had the title CEO. Best, Don Bauder

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