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Analysis: What's next for MediaNews

Original post made on Jan 19, 2010

The company that owns the San Ramon Valley (Contra Costa) Times, San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune and some 50 other daily newspapers, as well as 100 non-daily papers in 12 states, will soon declare bankruptcy, initiating a proceeding in federal court. The bankruptcy of holding company Affiliated Media Inc., in the form of a Chapter 11 filing, is the result of inability to pay huge debts accumulated in recent years when MediaNews Corp. acquired many of the papers it now owns.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 3:54 PM

Comments (9)

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Posted by CDSI Research
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Dear Dolores,

Let's get the commentary started so readers may voice their own definition of daily news.

First, let's deal with changes in news delivery beyond print and on-line open circulation of daily and weekly news. News is being provided to subscribers by category of reader as e-distribution of economic, political and cultural analysis, articles and stories. Being more similar to trade publications than daily or weekly newspapers, such subscriber news services deals with news from the perspective of a specific readership.

Second, Blogs and similar have expanded with opinion reporting as alternative to journalism. This interaction with readers is much like talk-radio and does not provide direct, in-depth, fair and balanced news reporting.

Third, Broadcast news has become entertainment aimed at very specific audiences. Entertainers such as Rush, Sarah, Bill, Glenn, Jon and more simply present a faux version of the news laden with high-impact entertainment value and little more. Even network news has drifted toward entertainment with stories presented to maximize viewer interest and response.

In summary, news might be the issue in itself. With volumes of information being presented rapid-fire, viewers and readers are losing interest and seeking simply an "elevator presentation" of each story.

So let's make that a start of discussions,


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Posted by S. Stone
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Inside story of how the MediaNews story broke, along with internal documents.

Web Link

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Posted by Ralph Hoffmann
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 20, 2010 at 7:37 am

Ralph Hoffmann is a registered user.

Dear Delores,
On the one hand, I like Hal's ideas about Blogs as an alternative to opinion journalism. We certainly don't want Bank of America dictating opinion content and policy. But when you look at the demographics of bloggers, you will find they're not representative of a broad cross-section of the public, either. For example, most bloggers are male, as Hal and I, for some reason. Bloggers also tend to be polarized in their opinions. MediaNews obviously can't be objective in reporting their own bankruptcy story.

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Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 8:08 am

When a newspaper's readership says it reads the paper because there is no other choice it is a recipe for ultimate disaster. The Tri-Valley area cries out for a fair and balanced print news source. The Contra Costa Times/San Ramon Valley Times isn't it and the blame falls on the leadership not on the Journalism majors just cutting their teeth.

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Posted by Karl
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 11:41 am

Bankruptcy of Media News & others is NOT the result of declining readership.

Rather, these "newspaper businesses" have failed to understand the INDUSTRY they are in: News.

People still want news & content today; more so, in fact. I am far more informed today than I ever was. Prior to the 1990s I received the vast majority of my news from newspapers, magazines, TV & radio. Now, the internet is my principal source of news.

Today's newspapers contain: Yesterday's news. That's a big problem. The Seattle P-I probably had it right; close down the newspaper & go 100% online.

Unfortunately, the Times publication is becoming a non-issue for us and we will probably cancel this year.

I'm not interested in a "...Newspaper..." I'm interested in the news ... no matter how I receive it. So, Media News needs to make sure their strategies are aligned to the wants & needs of those in the Bay Area.

Like this comment
Posted by Gunslinger
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 6:33 am

And stop trying to brainwash conservatives into buying flagrant liberal bias while at the same time claiming to be an unspun, good ol' local source

Like this comment
Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:32 am

Ralph N. Shirlet is a registered user.

Dear Dolores,

Beyond terms of use for the forum you might consider a glossary of terms for such words as conservative, moderate and liberal. Many of the exchanges on this forum use these terms without definition and more often to mean something beyond their actual meaning. If we are to consider WHAT news is delivered and how much opinion is placed within such delivery we will need to agree on such definitions for in-common evaluation of news reporting.

AS I work with governments throughout North America and Asia I find that conservatives, moderates and liberals exist in all government types including the many socialist governments in our Pacific Rim. As I read English-Language newspapers throughout the Rim I see the same discussions of conservative versus moderate versus liberal.

So, Dolores, what do your readers mean when they use these terms?


Like this comment
Posted by in the know
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Actually kittens, the bankruptcy is the result of the company being over-leveraged: MediaNews spent too much buying papers, and the business isn't making enough money to pay it back. That's why the bankruptcy affects the holding company, and not daily operations of the local papers.

Like this comment
Posted by CDSI Research
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2010 at 6:55 am

Dear Dolores,

It is observations such as the one above that concerns me about forum commentators. Any business must sell its product to sustain cash flow equal to the demand of expenses. In newspapers, the product are subscriptions and ads. In the case of the parent holding company, Media News, their newspaper operations have not provided the necessary cash flow and therefore the discussion of bankruptcy’s importance to your readers must focus on the continuation of the products offered by Media News that create growth in cash flow.


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