Big News Week

It was a rather interesting week for the venerable newspaper industry.

First Google announced it would begin selling advertising for the top 50 newspapers and will take bids for space from advertisers. The bids will then be relayed to publishers, who can then accept or reject the offers.

Meanwhile, Gannett takes blogging to the next level, unveiling a plan to allow bloggers, members of Internet discussion groups and other non-journalists – so called “citizen journalists” to contribute to news stories. Gannett’s objective is to try to stem the tide of reduced readership and combat the growing popularly of the Internet, TV and other news sources. It is interesting to think how PR people will work with this group.

The LA Times fired Editor Dean Bauquet who refused to cut staff in his news room.

The Times’ parent, Tribune Co. is on the block again and according to the Associated Press, a team headed by business big wigs Eli Broad and Ron Burkle have submitted a bid. Tribune had received preliminary bids from private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Texas Pacific Group. A second group led by Bain Capital also expressed interest, but neither deal went anywhere.

The Philadelphia Inquirer saw its editor, Amanda Bennett step down as part of the paper’s cost reduction efforts.

All was quiet on the Boston Globe front. A pair of Jacks – Welch and Connors and Boston businessman Joe O’Donnell (who lost out on trying to buy the Boston Red Sox a few years ago) are rumored to be interested in taking the Globe off the New York Times’ hands.

With regard to the Google and Gannett moves, let’s hope they pay off. With newspaper circulation and ad revenues continuing to go South, partly because of the trend of young adults who simply do not read newspapers; it’s critical that this medium survives.


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