Monday, March 13, 2006

The death of a newspaper?

I've said it before. I work in a certain branch of the media which concerns itself with news and while this is both news and about not just one but two newspapers it is also important because now the two newspapers in question are of the same ownership.

The Twin Cities of Minnesota (Minneapolis and the state capitol, St. Paul) have had their own reapective newspapers with separate owners. Until today, that is.

McClatchy, the owner of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, purchased the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain which includes the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Speculation, of course, abounds as to what will happen with the St. Paul paper. It is significantly smaller and less profitable but it has its die-hards who wouldn't buy a copy of the Star-Tribune if it contained the only vial of a life-saving vaccine to a disease which had infected everyone in St. Paul.

McClatchy, though, has its plans. Rather than build a Minnesota (sorta) group anchored by its own Strib and flanked by papers in Grand Forks (ND), Duluth and St. Paul, they will sell off many of the smaller and likely under-performing papers which includes the 'flankers' mentioned here.

It makes sense for McClatchy. They are only in major metro areas and keeping St. Paul only to close it or run it at a loss isn't smart business and spinning off the twelve smaller papers will simply bring McClatchy some cash to fund the purchase of the larger papers.

All told, a wise decision which still leaves the future of the St. Paul Pioneer Press uncertain.

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