Thursday, April 30, 2009

Denver Post - Eliminates Outlying Distribution Areas

The Denver Post announced Thursday it is ending sales of its weekday newspapers across much of Colorado and neighboring states.

The Post -- which has long carried the slogan "Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire" on its front page -- will no longer be home delivered or sold in boxes or over the counter Mondays through Saturdays in parts of western, southern and eastern Colorado or in neighboring states after early July. Affected areas include Grand Junction, Durango, Gunnison, Telluride, Alamosa, Walsenberg, Trinidad, La Junta, Lamar andBurlington, the paper's statement said.

People in those areas can access the newspaper via its free website and through a paid electronic facsimile edition, and the Sunday Post will continue to be delivered in the affected areas, the newspaper said.

The announcement did not say whether or how much existing paid-up subscribers in the affected areas would be reimbursed. The Post announcement said the affected areas amount to less than 3 percent of its current 371,728 weekday sales. The policy change was expected by many observers, given the high cost of delivering in far-flung regions of the state and the limited interest among many advertisers in reaching areas outside Denver and the Front Range urban core. Many dailies in other parts of the country have likewise cut back their delivery areas.

The Post and its owner, Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc., have been struggling in recent years to contain costs in the face of slumping revenue and mounting losses for the Denver daily. Still, it marks a significant shift for the Post, which has long positioned itself as the newspaper for all Colorado and which in recent years has used the marketing slogan: "We are Colorado." For decades, Denver Post delivery tubes have been nailed to ranch-gate posts and farm fences across the state.

The Post traditionally has been home delivered virtually everywhere in Colorado and in some areas of neighboring states, including southeastern Wyoming, western Nebraska, northern New Mexico and, at times, eastern Utah.

Despite the change, William Dean Singleton, the Post's publisher and CEO of MediaNews Group, said in the Post's statement that the paper remains "fully committed to providing comprehensive editorial coverage for all of Colorado. We are still truly Colorado, and our loyal Post readers will still have full access to our Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage through the electronic edition and our Sunday print product."

The Post several years ago maintained news bureaus and stationed reporters in Colorado Springs, the Larimer-Weld county area, the Four Corners area, Grand Junction and Summit County; had one or more regional reporters assigned to cover outlying Colorado and neighboring states; and assigned a "Rocky Mountain Ranger" columnist to write about the region. Most of those bureaus are now closed and the "Rocky Mountain Ranger" column has been discontinued. The Post recently has made increasing use of regional news reports from other papers in the state.

Rochester Democrat Chronicle Ceases TMC Publication

The Rochester Democrat Chronicle is discontinuing its Neighbors TMC product effective Friday, May 1st, 2009. The Neighbors product had been distributed to all the non-subscribers of the Democrat-Chronicle each week on Friday. There are no current plans to create another TMC vehicle.

Philadelphia Leader - Reopened, New Distribution

The Philadelphia Leader was closed for business in January 2009 as part of the Journal Register bankruptcy. Due to a market demand, the Philadelphia Leader has begun republishing this month, but under a new frequency.

The Leader is now a monthly publication distributed on the last Wednesday of the month, starting with May 27th, 2009. It previously had been a weekly publication.

Giles Free Press - merged / closed

The Giles Free Press, a paid Thursday community newspaper merged with the Pulaski Citizen on March 1, 2009 per Martha Hood, Advertising Manager. The Free Press had been distributed to approximately 6500 households in Giles County, Tennessee.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

American Community Newspapers - Chapter 11

American Community Newspapers LLC Voluntarily Files Petition for Reorganization

- No Impact on Day to Day Operations: Newspapers and Web Sites to Continue Serving Their Local Communities -

DALLAS, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- American Community Newspapers Inc. (Pink Sheets: ACNI) today announced that its subsidiary operating company American Community Newspapers LLC ("ACN" or the "Company") has voluntarily filed petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

ACN will continue to operate its businesses during the reorganization process. There will be no change in the Company's day to day operating activity and its newspapers will continue to serve their local communities, readers and advertisers without interruption. ACN's secured creditors will be providing a $5 million debtor in possession credit facility. In addition, the secured creditors are the contemplated stalking horse bidder for ACN's assets.

"A difficult economic environment and weak advertising market have created a number of challenges for our industry and our company," said Gene Carr, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ACN. "While we have proactively managed our business by right sizing our cost structure and driving efficiencies to maximizing our cash flows our operations are not able to support our current capital structure. As a result we intend to reorganize via the 363 sale process with continuing support from our lenders which, if approved, will reduce our debt. This will place us in a better position to execute on our business plan and serve our communities. We worked with our financial advisors to explore a wide range of alternatives before making this filing, however the decision to proceed with the reorganization was determined to be the best alternative."

Mr. Carr concluded, "The community newspaper business model places us in the unique position to deliver truly local content and be the mainstay of the markets we serve. The value we provide has been recognized many times over the years with our employees, newspapers, Web sites and niche publications winning numerous awards. Our readers and advertisers are our most important assets and we are committed to providing them with outstanding service in the months and years ahead."

About American Community Newspapers

ACN is a community newspaper publisher in the United States, operating within four major U.S. markets: Minneapolis - St. Paul; Dallas; Northern Virginia (suburban Washington, D.C.); and Columbus, Ohio. These markets are some of the most affluent, high growth markets in the United States, with ACN strategically positioned in many of the wealthiest counties within each market. ACN's goal is to be the preeminent provider of local content and advertising in any market it serves.

Detroit Free Press - Distribution Change

Detroit Free Press and Detroit News reduced home delivery to three days a week. Missing from the doorsteps and driveways of many Michigan homes Monday morning: newspapers.

In a bold but risky move aimed at ensuring their survival in the digital age, The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press are reducing home delivery to the three days a week most popular with advertisers _ Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Slimmed-down newspapers, sold at regular prices, will be available in news racks and convenience stores the other four days.

The Detroit publishers hope to cut costs significantly, without sacrificing newsroom staff, to survive a recession that has exacerbated losses from ads shifting to the Internet. Millions of dollars in advertising have eroded over the past year in a city and state being hammered by foreclosures, high unemployment and the near-collapse of the auto industry.

More than 80 newspapers in the country, in smaller markets, have dropped at least one publication day since last year. Other newspapers in Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin are on the verge of similar reductions in frequency. A few have gone online-only.
Detroit is trying a hybrid: keeping daily publication, but cutting back on its commitment to serve homes every day.

The newspapers hope that by nurturing their ink-stained legacy, and reaping only partial savings in production and delivery, they can keep enough revenue and staff to grow beyond print and become profitable on the Internet, cell phones and other mobile gadgets. "They are accelerating greatly the print-to-digital transformation, and they are taking a great chance there," said Ken Doctor, media analyst with Outsell Inc.

The biggest risk is in breaking readers' newspaper habits, he said. If readers realize they can get by without a newspaper at the doorstep four days of the week, they might conclude they don't need it delivered on the other three days. Circulation could drop, and with it, ad revenue.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grapevine Sun - Closing

The Grapevine Sun, published by Denton Publishing Company, and a subidiary of Belo, will be ceasing publication effective April 30th, 2009 per Mindy Grazulis of the Denton Publishing Company.

The Grapevine Sun has been publishing since 1895.

Baltimore Sun Media Group - Vendor Changes

The Baltimore Sun Media Group has made distribution changes to a few vendors and closed a couple more, per Jim Alvey, Director of the Direct Marketing Department.

The Eldersburg Eagle and the Westminster Eagle no longer publish, effective the week of April 20th, 2009.

The Northeast Reporter and the Northeast Booster, formerly weekly community papers, are merging into a single monthly publication and will first publish on March 28th.

The View of Ellicott City and the View of Western Howard County have both switched from being weekly publications, to being monthly publications effective May 7th. The Owings Mills Times switches from being weekly to monthly effective May 14th. The North County News switches from being weekly to monthly effective May 21st.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

DeKalb Daily Chronicle - Changes distribution days

Effective June 1, 2009 the DeKalb Daily Chronicle will cease publishing on Sundays. Per Julie Smith, the National Advertising Manager, all orders that they have for Sunday after that date will move to Saturday.

Ann Arbor News - Closing / Restructuring

Booth Michigan Publications
AnnArbor.com update April 15, 2009


The Ann Arbor News will cease publication entirely in late July. However that very next week (tentatively planned for a Sunday, July 26-with no lapse in delivery between the existing and new Sunday print publications), AnnArbor.com will begin producing a print publication on Sunday and Thursday mornings. While AnnArbor.com's business model will center around a new, community-driven web site, home delivered and single copy paid, twice-weekly newspapers will maintain a strong market presence.

AnnArbor.com's twice-weekly, paid print publications will look and feel like traditional newspapers. The newspapers will be in a multi-section, broadsheet format. Features and sections similar to those that appear in the Ann Arbor News will also appear in AnnArbor.com's print publications, such as Sports, Travel, Local Business, Entertainment, Opinion, Comics and even puzzles. But these publications will be enriched with more news analysis and community-focused information that's driven from the web platform (reverse publishing). By early May, we'll be able to share section-front prototypes and content highlights for both the website and the printed newspapers.

Matt Kraner, AnnArbor.com's new CEO, understands the significant value a local newspaper provides to advertisers. As such, he plans to continue a high level of market penetration. AnnArbor.com will be home-delivered to current Ann Arbor News pre-paid subscribers who do not choose to opt-out of delivery. New and aggressive pricing models will be also taken to market, encouraging a high purchase rate for the printed publications. Circulation numbers will be shared with advertisers regularly, while ABC audits will also continue.

Matt is confident that Ann Arbor residents will support the new business model. In fact, he and his editorial team are holding Public Forums as a key means of listening to and discussing community reaction to the changes. They are also asking questions and learning from the community. AnnArbor.com plans to build a web and print publication company that's woven tightly into Ann Arbor's local fabric. Early indications are positive. When the original announcement was made, 130 subscribers canceled their Ann Arbor News. While Matt is concerned about losing any readers, he acknowledges that this represents a small fraction of the News' circulation base. More importantly, circulation "stops and starts" have returned to normal since the first week.

Other positive changes will occur with AnnArbor.com's newspaper launch. Advertisers will be able to distribute their preprinted inserts by zip code within Washtenaw and Livingston Counties. AnnArbor.com is also working on sub-zip code opportunities for later launch. And a high-quality TMC product will be carrier-delivered to non-subscribers on weekends.

BoothMichigan will continue to offer multi-market advertiser contract rates, to include AnnArbor.com. Web advertising opportunities will also be handled through Booth or through AnnArbor.com's sales team.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gatehouse Media - Vendor Closing

The Yarmouth Pennysaver will cease publishing on May 1st, 2009 per Sara Cherchia, National Account Manager with Gatehouse Media. The Gatehouse media publications Register and Cape Codder do help cover that area.

Gatehouse Media had closed the Kansas City Kansan and Wyandotte County Shopper on January 10, 2009.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

AMERICAN COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, INC. (ACG) Turns 22 Years Old!

The largest independent Print Media Management Company in the United States is celebrating its 22nd year anniversary this week. The Torrance based American Communications Group has specialized in retail print media for close to a quarter of a century. Known for their objective approach to media planning and buying, ACG has enjoyed significant growth despite the challenging retail and newspaper environment. ACG provides print media planning and buying services, contract and rate negotiations, media analysis and strategic retail insight services to its clients.

President/ CEO, Christopher Cope stated today, “We are just getting started and our first 22 years are behind us. With the stable of valued clients and our unparalleled team of print media professionals, the sky is truly the limit.”

ACG currently represents over 25 retail clients. Over 110 employees across six (6) branches makes up the ACG Team.

Gannett - Michigan Closings

Associated Press, 04.13.09, 01:11 PM EDT

Several non-daily newspapers owned by Gannett Co. Inc. in Oakland County have announced they will cease or merge publications May 31.

The Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Troy and Rochester editions of the Eccentric will close. The Southfield edition and the Observer & Eccentric group's Mirror newspaper will merge into a multi-community Sunday newspaper called the South Oakland Eccentric.

The company says it will cut 44 jobs as a result of the closings and consolidations. The newspaper company will continue to publish the Observer Newspapers and Hometown Weekly Newspapers in western Wayne and Oakland counties.

The Observer & Eccentric and Mirror newspapers, which had been part of HomeTown Communications Network Inc., were sold in 2005 to McLean, Va.-based Gannett.

Kannapolis Independent Tribune - Distribution Day Change

The Kannapolis Indepenent Tribune will switch from being a seven day a week Daily Newspaper to being a Sunday-Wednesday-Friday publication on April 22, 2009 per Vicki Hayes, Major Accounts Manager.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brown Publishing Company - one vendor closure

The New Carlisle Sun had ceased publication in October 2008 per Don Yeazell. Other publications in the group, including the Thursday weeklies Vandalia Drummer, Huber Heights Courier, Englewood Independent, Kettering-Oakwood Times, and Centerville-Bellbrook Times are still operating as usual.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Greenspun Media Group - closings

The Greenspun Media Group closed four of its weekly community publications on March 1st, 2009, per Wayne Courtney, Ad Manager. The four publications were the West Valley News, Summerlin News NE, Summerlin News SW, and Silverado News.

The other publications in the group were unaffected: Henderson Home News, Boulder City News, Green Valley News, and South Valley News.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Minnesota Sun Publications - a closing

The Minnesota Sun Publications closed the Ramsey County Sun Focus, a free Thursday publication, in March 2009, per Dennis Thomsen of ACN Newspapers. The Sun Focus covered Ramsey county, Minnesota, and more specifically zip codes in the St Paul area.

Map of Financial Health of Newspaper Industry


The enclosed map shows the status of the newspaper industry from a perspective of the whole country.


Tucson Citizen - Closing (2)

April 02, 2009, 1:34 a.m.
REN√ČE SCHAFER HORTON


Potential buyers of the Tucson Citizen were invited last week by Gannett Co. Inc. to visit the paper and interview employees, but apparently no one accepted the invitation.

Gannett sent two company representatives to the Citizen March 25, announcing that negotiations with "interested parties" were ongoing and that the parties had been invited to Tucson. One representative left over the weekend and the other left Thursday morning.

Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell declined to speculate on why the interested parties did not come.

"Again, the invitation is what it is. You are likely to know more and sooner than I what is happening with that, if anything," Connell wrote in an e-mail. "Of course we will tell employees the status of the paper once it's determined. We aren't commenting on the negotiations."

Gannett announced Jan. 16 it was selling the Citizen, and would close the paper March 21 if a buyer could not be found.

The paper has about 65 fulltime employees.

Tucson Citizen - Possible Reprieve

By ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN – Mar 17, 2009

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Tucson Citizen will not close as planned on Saturday because there are continuing negotiations with two interested buyers, the newspaper's publisher, Gannett Co. Inc., announced Tuesday.

Robert J. Dickey, president of Gannett U.S. Community Publishing, said in a teleconference that the negotiations would not be completed by Saturday, according to Editor Jennifer Boice. Two months ago, Dickey had said March 21 would be the deadline for sale or closure of the Citizen, which began publishing in 1870 and is Arizona's oldest newspaper.

"We are going to continue publishing beyond the 21st," Boice told the newspaper's staff in a meeting in the paper's lobby. A final commemorative issue that the Citizen was to have published on Saturday will be delayed, she said.

On Jan. 16, Dickey announced the planned sale or closure from the same lobby location. At that time, he said certain assets of the paper were for sale.

Those assets apparently did not include Gannett's 50 percent share in the joint operating agreement it has with the publisher of the morning newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, owned by Lee Enterprises Inc.

The two companies jointly own Tucson Newspapers Inc., the subsidiary that handles all non-editorial operations for both papers. Gannett and Lee share operating costs and profits of both papers under the JOA, which runs until 2015.

The Citizen has struggled for years against the Star, a 117,000-circulation morning newspaper. During the Citizen's heyday in the 1960s, circulation was about 60,000; today, it's 17,000.

In a statement Tuesday concerning the Citizen, Gannett said it "has been engaged in discussions with parties who are interested in continuing to publish a printed daily paper in Tucson.

"In light of these ongoing discussions, Gannett will delay a decision regarding the potential sale or closure of the Tucson Citizen, but expects to make a decision in the very short term."

Boice said Dickey gave no details concerning potential buyers, what was being negotiated or how soon a decision would come.

The announcement threw the staff into turmoil, with a series of questions concerning how much longer the paper would be staying in business, what would become of promised severance packages and what would happen if the paper were sold and not all present employees were retained.

"There is some hope that could come out of this ... that we could have a new owner with a functioning newspaper, with the staff employed," science writer Alan Fischer said. "On the other hand, it's very disconcerting to be told that you're going to be closing down."

"We have people here who made plans, who have new jobs that start on Monday and who could potentially lose their severance packages because of that, so it's kind of thrown everything into kind of an uproar here," he added.

If it closes, the Citizen would be another casualty of a newspaper industry struggling to survive despite the tough economy, dwindling advertising revenues and Internet competition.

The battle has been especially tough in two-newspaper towns, including Seattle, Tucson and Denver.

Hearst Corp. printed the last edition of Seattle's oldest newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Monday night, turning it into an Internet-only news outlet. Hearst also has said it will close or sell The San Francisco Chronicle if it can't slash expenses.

E. W. Scripps Co. closed the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News, one of two daily newspapers in Denver, in February.

Four newspaper companies, including the owners of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer, have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in recent months.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the Justice Department to broaden its view of media competition when reviewing merger proposals. She said antitrust concerns that arise from proposed newspaper mergers should take into account online news sources and nearby daily and weekly papers "so that the conclusions reached reflect current market realities."

Her effort to help struggling newspapers stay in business did not mention her hometown paper, The San Francisco Chronicle.

Pelosi said a House Judiciary subcommittee would hold a hearing soon to discuss the trend's implication for antitrust policy.

Tucson Citizen Closing

AP 03/16/09

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Marshall Wyatt Earp's fabled 1881 shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone was reported this way:

"A day when blood flowed as water, and human life was held as a shuttlecock, a day always to be remembered as witnessing the bloodiest and the deadliest street fight that has ever occurred in this place, or probably in the territory."

For nearly 140 years, the Tucson Citizen has told the stories of Southern Arizona, but on Saturday (March 21), the state's oldest newspaper will tell its last -- its own.

Gannett Co. Inc., the nation's largest newspaper publisher, announced in January it would close the Citizen if it didn't find a buyer for certain assets. Robert J. Dickey, president of Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing, said the paper was losing money and was a drain on Gannett operations.

The Citizen becomes the latest casualty of a newspaper industry struggling to survive despite the tough economy, dwindling advertising revenues and Internet competition. The battle has been especially tough in two-newspaper towns.

E. W. Scripps Co. closed the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News, one of two daily newspapers in Denver, in February. Hearst Corp. has said it will close or sell the San Francisco Chronicle if it can't slash expenses, and has laid out plans to close the Seattle Post-Intelligencer if a buyer isn't found before April.

Four newspaper companies, including the owners of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer, have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in recent months.

The Citizen, an afternoon newspaper, has struggled for years against the Arizona Daily Star, a 117,000-circulation morning newspaper owned by Lee Enterprises. During the Citizen's heyday in the 1960s, circulation was about 60,000; today, it's 17,000.

Editor Jennifer Boice said the Citizen's closure is a loss for the Star, the community and journalism.

"It's a loss because what we do makes the Star better, the Star makes us better, and because of that, the community gets better information," said Boice, who started at the paper 25 years ago as a business writer. "It's more than the sum of the parts."

The Arizona Citizen was founded on Oct. 15, 1870, by John Wasson, a newspaper man from California, with behind-the-scenes help from Richard McCormick, the territory's governor and later territorial delegate to Congress.

The paper changed ownership several times over the next 100 years until Gannett bought it in 1976, just a few years after a U.S. Supreme Court case involving the Citizen led Congress to pass the Newspaper Preservation Act and new rules for joint-operating agreements for competing newspapers doing business together. Gannett also changed the name to the Tucson Citizen.

During its lifetime, the Citizen reported on Arizona's biggest stories, including the 1881 gunfight at the OK Corral and the 1934 arrest of bank robber John Dillinger and three other gang members hiding out in Tucson.

"It has such a long history," Arizona historian Marshall Trimble said. "That makes it part of Arizona history, and it's just another piece of our history that's going away."

Michael Chihak, the Citizen's former editor and publisher who retired last summer, spent a significant portion of his life with the paper. His grandfather was a pressman at the Citizen in the 1940s. As a boy, Chihak delivered the paper on his bicycle and was a high school stringer. He later became a reporter and editor, working for other news organizations along the way, and returned to the Citizen as its publisher and chief executive in 2000.

"It was more than a career, more than a job, it was part of my life," said Chihak, who is now executive director of a nonprofit foundation in San Francisco.

He said it's heartbreaking to see the demise of the Citizen, and "the loss of all the jobs of the finest journalists I knew."

Newspapers remain at the forefront of gathering and disseminating information, Chihak said, "but obviously the emphasis has shifted to other means of distribution, and of gathering, for that matter."

More than 60 newsroom employees will lose their jobs because of the closure, but Tucson Newspapers Inc., which oversees the Gannett-Lee Enterprises business operations under the JOA, will continue until at least 2015.

Star publisher John Humenik couldn't comment on the Citizen's closure because of pending legal issues related to the JOA, but Lee spokesman Daniel Hayes said, "it's always unfortunate when a community voice is lost."

The final Citizen will be a 24-page commemorative edition delivered on Saturday. About 20,000 copies will be printed and available in news racks for a couple of days.

The Citizen's staff continues to work as hard and as skillfully as ever in its waning days, said Bruce Johnston, who joined the Citizen 36 years ago.

"We're professionals," he said. "We're treating every day like it normally is, even though there's a lot of gallows humor around here."

Except for the stacks of boxes and large trash bins lining the newsroom to catch years' worth of notebooks and paper stacked atop desks, it was business as usual. Reporters continued to call sources, plan coverage and share laughs.

But they also shared tidbits about mostly fruitless job searches, punctuated by sighs and knowing nods as they prepared for their final week at their newspaper -- and for many, likely their final week in the business.

Associate Editor Mark Kimble, a 34-year veteran, said he worries about what closures like the Citizen's mean for the future of journalism.

There are "fewer sets of eyes looking at what government is doing and keeping an eye on the things that I think we all take seriously," Kimble said. "That's very unfortunate."

Rocky Mountain News Closing

By Lynn DeBruin, Rocky Mountain News , Lisa Ryckman, Rocky Mountain News
Originally published 12:01 p.m., February 26, 2009
Updated 10:08 p.m., February 26, 2009


The Rocky Mountain News publishes its last paper tomorrow.
Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Rocky-owner Scripps, broke the news to the staff at noon today, ending nearly three months of speculation over the paper's future.

"People are in grief," Editor John Temple said a noon news conference.

But he was intent on making sure the Rocky's final edition, which would include a 52-page wraparound section, was as special as the paper itself.

"This is our last shot at this," Temple said at a second afternoon gathering at the newsroom. "This morning (someone) said it's like playing music at your own funeral. It's an opportunity to make really sweet sounds or blow it. I'd like to go out really proud."

Boehne told staffers that the Rocky was the victim of a terrible economy and an upheaval in the newspaper industry.

"Denver can't support two newspapers any longer," Boehne told staffers, some of whom cried at the news. "It's certainly not good news for you, and it's certainly not good news for Denver."

Tensions were higher at the second staff meeting, held to update additional employees who couldn¹t attend the hastily called noon press conference.

Several employees wanted to know about severance packages, or even if they could buy at discount their computers.

Others were critical of Scripps for not seeking wage concessions first or going online only.

But Mark Contreras, vice president of newspapers for Scripps, said the math simply didn't work.

"If you cut both newsrooms in half, fired half the people in each newsroom, you'd be down to where other market newsrooms are today. And they're struggling," he said.

As for online revenues, he said if they were to grow 40 percent a year for the next five years, they still would be equal to the cost of one newsroom today.

"We're sick that we're here," Contreras said. "We want you to know it's not your fault. There's no paper in Scripps that we hold dearer."

But Boehne said Scripps intended to keep its other media, both print and in broadcast, running.

"Scripps has been around for 130 years. We intend to be around another 130 years," Boehne said. "If you can't make hard decisions, you won't make it."

After Friday, the Denver Post will be the only newspaper in town.

Asked if pubilsher Dean Singleton now walks away with the whole pie, Boehne was blunt.

"He walks away with an unprofitable paper, $130 million in debt and revenues that are down 15-20 percent every year," Boehne said.

Asked if Singleton would have to pay for the presses now, Boehne added, "We had to kill a newspaper. He can pay for the presses."

Reaction came from across the nation and around the block.

"The Rocky Mountain News has chronicled the storied, and at times tumultuous, history of Colorado for nearly 150 years. I am deeply saddened by this news, and my heart goes out to all the talented men and women at the Rocky," U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said in a statement. "I am grateful for their hard work and dedication to not only their profession, but the people of Colorado as well."

At the Statehouse, Rep. Joe Rice (D-Littleton), said the paper would be missed.

"The Rocky Mountain News has been a valued institution in Denver," he said.

"It's a sad, sad day."

Long-time Denver real estate agent Edie Marks called the Rocky a voice of reason, moderation and common sense.

"I think that it was the fairest newspaper, the most diverse, and am important part of my daily life," she said. "I'm going to miss it tremendously."

On Dec. 4, Boehne announced that Scripps was looking for a buyer for the Rocky and its 50 percent interest in the Denver Newspaper Agency, the company that handles business matters for the papers. The move came because of financial losses in Denver, including $16 million in 2008.

"This moment is nothing like any experience any of us have had," Boehne said. "The industry is in serious, serious trouble."

Temple said he was optimistic about the future of journalism but added that newspapers would be "radically different" in the future. He said he had no plans for his own future, although Boehne said Temple has a job with Scripps if he wants it.

Boehne said there was an out-of-state nibble from only one potential buyer, who withdrew after realizing that it would cost as much as $100 million "just to stay in the game."

He said they were in talks with that potential buyer as recently as a couple of weeks ago.

The sale of a newspaper brings out all sorts of colorful characters, Boehne said. "You get calls from pay phones at parks."

Since then, Scripps said it has been working with Post owner MediaNews Group to come up with a plan to leave Colorado. It also shares 50-50 ownership with MediaNews of the Boulder Daily Camera and a handful of other smaller papers in the state.

The Rocky has been in a joint operating agreement with The Denver Post since 2001. The arrangement approved by the U.S. Justice Department allowed the papers to share all business services, from advertising to printing, to preserve two editorial voices in the community.

Since then, Scripps said it has been working with Post owner MediaNews Group to come up with a plan to leave Colorado. It also shares 50-50 ownership with MediaNews of the Boulder Daily Camera and a handful of other smaller papers in the state.

Boehne said that the Post's traditional format and established Sunday edition made it more economically viable.

"In this environment, where there's so little room to take economic risk, I really feel the best chance for survival belongs to the broadsheet," he said.

The closure of the Rocky will mean Denver will have just one major newspaper, like the vast majority of American cities today.

"I certainly feel that all of (us) did what we could to make this paper successful, and I want to thank you for that," Temple told the staff. "To me, this is the very sad end of a beautiful thing."

Scripps said it will now offer for sale the masthead, archives and Web site of the Rocky, separate from its interest in the newspaper agency.

Today's announcement comes as metropolitan newspapers and major newspaper companies find themselves reeling, with plummeting advertising revenues and dramatically diminished share prices. Just this week, Hearst, owner of the San Francisco Chronicle, announced that unless it was able to make immediate and steep expense cuts it would put the paper up for sale and possibly close it. Two other papers in JOAs, one in Seattle and the other in Tucson, are facing closure in coming weeks.

The Rocky was founded in 1859 by William Byers, one of the most influential figures in Colorado history. Scripps bought the paper in 1926 and immediately began a newspaper war with The Post. That fight ebbed and flowed over the course of the rest of the 20th century, culminating in penny-a-day subscriptions in the late '90s.

Perhaps the most critical step for the Rocky occurred in 1942, when then-Editor Jack Foster saved it by adopting the tabloid style it has been known for ever since. Readers loved the change, and circulation took off.

In the past decade, the Rocky has won four Pulitzer Prizes, more than all but a handful of American papers. Its sports section was named one of the 10 best in the nation this week. Its business section was cited by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as one of the best in the country last year. And its photo staff is regularly listed among the best in the nation when the top 10 photo newspapers are judged.

Staffers were told to come in Friday to collect personal effects.

"I could say stupid things like 'I know how you feel.' I don't," Boehne said. "We are just deeply sorry. I hope you will accept that."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Closing

By Greg Bensinger

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Hearst Corp. will run its final printed edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer tomorrow and shift the entire publication to the Web after failing to find a buyer for the money-losing newspaper.

The New York-based publisher sought unsuccessfully to sell the Post-Intelligencer after the daily posted a $14 million loss last year. Hearst may close the San Francisco Chronicle if it can’t negotiate cost-cutting concessions from its unions.

“They are the first major metropolitan newspaper to flip the switch and go online only,” said Ken Doctor, an analyst with Outsell Inc. in Burlingame, California. “This is going to be an important model for people to watch, whether this can survive as a Web-only presence.”

Since December, four newspaper publishers have filed for bankruptcy protection, including Tribune Co. and the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer. E.W. Scripps Co. last month closed its Rocky Mountain News in Denver after failing to find a buyer and Gannett Co. said it will shutter the Tucson Citizen in Arizona if it can’t sell it by March 21.

Hearst will cut about 145 newsroom jobs at the Post- Intelligencer, leaving the newspaper with 20 reporters and editors, including two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey, said Paul Luthringer, a Hearst spokesman.

Hearst is raising subscription prices and has considered trimming its page count to counter the accelerating decline in advertising sales, Steven Swartz, head of the newspaper division, said last week.

‘Worst Year Yet’

U.S. newspapers eliminated 5,000 newsroom jobs in 2008 as industry advertising revenue fell 16 percent, and 2009 “may be the worst year yet,” according to a study released yesterday by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. New York Times Co. and Gannett Co. are selling assets and cutting jobs to help cope with advertising declines.

Hearst said it would terminate a joint operating agreement between the Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times in which the latter arranged advertising, printing and distribution for both newspapers. Under terms of the agreement, the Times received 60 percent of the combined revenue of the newspapers after operating costs.

Hearst will hire its own ad sales staff for the online Post-Intelligencer, Luthringer said. Subscribers to the Post- Intelligencer will automatically begin receiving the Times beginning March 18, said Jill Mackie, a Times spokeswoman.

The Post-Intelligencer’s average paid weekday circulation was 117,572 as of Sept. 30, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The Times had a weekday circulation of 198,741.

Doctor estimated the Times would retain less than half of its old rival’s subscribers.

Union newsroom employees in San Francisco on March 14 approved a contract that will allow Hearst to limit severance pay and cut at least 150 jobs, the California Media Workers Guild said on its Web site. Hearst still has to negotiate with the Teamsters.

Chicago Sun-Times Bankruptcy

BY DAVID ROEDER Staff Reporter, March 31, 2009
Read Chairman and CEO Jeremy Halbreich's letter to readers

Sun-Times Media Group Inc., owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and many suburban newspapers, today voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the aim of reorganizing operations, settling a tax liability and making the company fit for a buyer.

The petition was filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Chairman Jeremy Halbreich said the filing was a difficult decision but essential for the company “to re-establish itself as a self-sustaining, profitable operation. That is worth fighting for.”

His overriding goals are to sustain the company’s print and online news operations while “preserving as many jobs as possible," he said.

The company has one significant creditor -- the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has said Sun-Times Media Group owes up to $608 million in back taxes and penalties from past business practices by its former controlling owner, Conrad Black, now imprisoned for theft from corporate coffers.

Unlike other newspaper owners that have filed for bankruptcy amid steep dropoffs in advertising, including Chicago-based Tribune Co., Sun-Times Media Group has no bank debt. But its IRS debt thwarted efforts to raise new capital.

Halbreich said Sun-Times will continue talks with the IRS while implementing a "strong and impressive" business plan. It also will pursue a deal with buyers and has hired Rothschild Inc., which was involved in the bankruptcy of United Airlines' owner, to field offers.

Several potential buyers have approached Halbreich since he took over Feb. 10 as chairman and interim chief executive, he said. "We're very confident that there's going to be some interest here," he said. "We intend to start that process immediately."

Chapter 11 allows vendors and employees to be paid for ongoing business activities. But vendors owed money prior to the bankruptcy filing will have to submit claims. The company has provided a link to the bankruptcy case on its Web site, thesuntimesgroup.com.

A bankruptcy judge could force the company's unions to accept wage and benefit reductions. Halbreich said he will use the proceedings to seek unspecified concessions.

Halbreich, a former executive of the Dallas Morning News, was installed as Sun-Times chairman by shareholders who engineered a board of directors takeover late last year. But by going for bankruptcy, the shareholders confront the likelihood that their stake in the company is worth nothing after an IRS accord.

Asked if there will be anything left for shareholders after bankruptcy, Halbreich said, "You never want to say never and you never know because we haven't solicited offers yet, but realistically, probably not."

Sun-Times Media Group shares are traded on the Pink Sheets and closed Monday worth just a nickel each. That means that based on the stock, the entire company is worth about $4 million. As of Nov. 7, the company had assets of $479 million and liabilities of $801 million, according to the bankruptcy filing.

Halbreich predicted that the bankruptcy will be resolved by the end of the year, speedy by the standards of such cases.

As part of the process, the company hired Huron Consulting Group as a restructuring adviser and Kirkland & Ellis as legal counsel.



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Sun-Times Media Group files for bankruptcy

To Our Valued Readers:

Today our corporate parent, Sun-Times Media Group, Inc. and certain of its affiliates voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This action begins a legal and financial process that is designed to protect our Company’s brands, stabilize our business and create a brighter future for all of our stakeholders, including our news organizations, advertisers, employees, and you our valued readers.

Please be assured that this action does NOT mean the Company or our newspapers or online sites are going out of business. We will continue to publish and operate our newspapers and corresponding online sites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, the SouthtownStar, Beacon News (Aurora), Courier-News (Elgin), Herald News (Joliet), Lake County News-Sun (Waukegan), Naperville Sun, and Post-Tribune (Merrillville, Ind.); our weeklies published by Pioneer Press and Fox Valley Publications; our free shoppers and content on corresponding online sites, including YourSeason.com and Rogerebert.com.

If you are a subscriber to any of our publications, your newspaper will continue to be delivered as it is today, and you will still get the great mix of news, sports, features and opinion that you count on in each edition. Like many U.S. companies today and like many other newspaper companies across the country, Sun-Times Media Group has faced significant declines in revenue. This process will help us to better address these challenges and ultimately work toward strengthening our commitment to remaining the Chicago area’s best, most reliable and most distinguished source of news and information for our readers.

Sun-Times Media Group intends to move through the Chapter 11 process as quickly as possible, and expects that the process will be completed in 2009.

In the coming weeks, we will be keeping you informed through our Web site thesuntimesgroup.com. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

I would like to thank you for your business and support during these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Jeremy L. Halbreich

Chairman of the Board
Interim Chief Executive Officer

Philadelphia Inquirer - Bankruptcy

By Harold Brubaker, Posted on Mon, Feb. 23, 2009

Inquirer Staff Writer

Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, which owns The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday in a bid to restructure its $390 million in debt load.

The company, bought by a group of Philadelphia-area investors for $562 million in 2006, said the voluntary Chapter 11 filing would not interrupt its daily operations.

"This restructuring is focused solely on our debt, not our operations," chief executive officer Brian P. Tierney, who led the group that provided about $150 million of the purchase price three years ago, said in a news release.

"Our operations are sound and profitable," said Tierney, referring to operating profits before interest and certain other costs.

The financial burden from an advertising downturn, rising costs for newsprint, and the migration of readers to the Internet caused Philadelphia Newspapers to fall out of compliance with its loan agreements last year. The same conditions have devastated the broadcast industry.

The company said it decided to turn to Bankruptcy Court after negotiating with its lenders for the last 11 months. During that time, the company was billed $13.4 million in penalty interest and fees.

It is not clear whether the current owners will retain a stake in the company if the debt is successfully restructured with the help of a bankruptcy judge. Ideally, a restructuring would reduce the amount of debt and lower the interest rate.

Citizens Bank is the agent for the senior lenders, who have included Angelo Gordon & Co., CIT Group Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co.

The Newspaper Guild, which represents newsroom and other employees of the company, alerted its members of the bankruptcy filing yesterday.

To fund operations during the restructuring, the company asked for court approval of $25 million in debtor-in-possession financing that was arranged by NewSpring Capital in Radnor.

The Philadelphia Newspapers filing follows last month's bankruptcy filing by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Journal Register Co., based in Yardley and the publisher of a number of local daily and weekly newspapers, filed for bankruptcy Saturday. Just last week, the publicly traded New York Times Co. suspended its dividend to cope with the economic downturn.

The Tribune Co., which was saddled with a massive $13 billion debt load when Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell bought it in 2007, filed for bankruptcy protection in December.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Baltimore Examiner - Closing

Ben Nuckols, January 29, 2009 03:22 PM EST

BALTIMORE — Less than three years after its launch as the city's second daily newspaper, The Baltimore Examiner is shutting down, a victim of slower-than-expected ad sales.

Employees of the free tabloid were informed of the closure Thursday morning. The Examiner will publish its last issue on Sunday, Feb. 15. About 90 people will lose their jobs, said Jim Monaghan, a spokesman for Clarity Media Group, the paper's Denver-based parent company.

"We had good people there. We thought we had a good paper," Monaghan said. "It's a disappointment that it didn't work out."

Clarity, owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, also publishes Examiner papers in Washington and San Francisco. Ryan McKibben, Clarity's CEO, told Baltimore staffers that the company expected "strong revenue synergies" between the Baltimore and Washington papers, but those did not materialize.

Clarity had been searching for a buyer for the Baltimore paper for months, McKibben said.

"We didn't get the depth of national advertising that we would have liked. We thought, with the combination of two markets, we would have been able to do that," Monaghan said. "After 30 months of trying, it became clear during the current recession that advertising is not increasing."

The announcement "came as a complete surprise" in the newsroom, Examiner reporter Luke Broadwater said. He said the newsroom staff had been cut in about half through attrition, but he did not know how dire the paper's finances were.

When it launched in April 2006, The Baltimore Examiner was delivered six days a week to homes in affluent urban and suburban neighborhoods. Clarity changed that model last summer, cutting home delivery to two days a week, Thursday and Sunday. The paper was distributed on racks the rest of the week.

Thursday distribution was about 327,000, and Sunday distribution was 325,000, Monaghan said. About 44,000 copies were printed on days without home delivery. The Examiner did not publish on Saturdays.

John Murray, a vice president of circulation and marketing at the Newspaper Association of America, said free tabloids are more vulnerable to a sour economy because they often compete with paid dailies for the same advertisers, and they don't have a base of subscribers to fall back on.

"They don't have that stable revenue stream from their readers," Murray said.

Nonetheless, the Washington and San Francisco Examiners are on solid footing, Monaghan said. The Washington paper will be adding columnists and beefing up coverage of politics and national security, Clarity said in a news release. The papers will also enhance their Internet presence.

Monaghan said it was doubtful that any Baltimore staffers would make the jump to the Washington paper. He said announcements about new hires were imminent and that the paper would be adding "people who are for the most part pretty well known."

Broadwater said he was proud of what the paper was able to produce.

"I think we exceeded everybody's expectations. We were complete overachievers," Broadwater said. "We contributed a lot to the discussion, the debate and the conversation about what's going on in Baltimore and the state of Maryland."

Publisher Michael Beatty and editor Frank Keegan declined to comment, referring calls to Monaghan.

The Examiner's demise leaves The Baltimore Sun as the city's only daily newspaper, a status it held for more than 10 years before the Examiner's launch. The Baltimore News American folded in 1986 after more than 200 years. The Sun, which has published since 1837, merged its morning and evening papers in 1995.

The Sun is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., which filed for bankruptcy in December. The paper has gone through several rounds of buyouts and layoffs amid declining readership and ad sales, and the size of its newsroom has been cut in about half since 2000.

Journal Register Company Bankruptcy

Yardley, PA, February 21, 2009 – Journal Register Company (the “Company”) (PINKSHEETS: JRCO) today announced that the Company and its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to implement a pre-negotiated plan of reorganization (the “Plan”) with certain of its secured lenders designed to substantially reduce the Company’s debt. The Company intends to continue to operate as usual, and does not anticipate any business interruption during the restructuring.

On February 19, 2009, the Company entered into a Plan Support Agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and 26 of the 37 lenders party to the Company’s Amended and Restated Credit Agreement dated as of January 25, 2006 (as amended, the “Credit Agreement”), which hold approximately 77% of the aggregate principal amount of the indebtedness outstanding under the Credit Agreement. Each of the parties to the Plan Support Agreement have agreed to vote in favor of the Plan on terms and conditions set forth in the Term Sheet that is attached to the Plan Support Agreement.

The Term Sheet provides that each of the existing lenders under the Credit Agreement will receive a pro rata share of a $175 million Tranche A Term Loan Facility, a $100 million Tranche B Term Loan Facility and the common stock in the reorganized company, subject to dilution for future equity issuances. The Tranche B Term Loan has a payment-in-kind feature for its five-year term allowing the Company to opt to either make regular interest payments in cash or to pay the interest in kind. The Plan is expected to reduce the Company’s total indebtedness by approximately $420 million. The Company expects to continue to generate sufficient cash flow to fund its operations and, as a condition to implementation of the Plan, will obtain a $25 million revolving credit facility upon its exit from bankruptcy to further enhance its liquidity position. The Company’s existing equity holders would receive no distributions under the proposed plan.

The Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James W. Hall said, “Journal Register Company has taken numerous steps to reduce its debt and strengthen its balance sheet through the divestiture of unprofitable newspapers, headcount reductions and various other means. However, due to the numerous challenges facing the newspaper industry and the overall economic downturn, our board of directors has decided, after careful consideration of all available alternatives, that a Chapter 11 filing was a necessary and best course of action for Journal Register Company. We intend to emerge from the Chapter 11 process stronger, leaner and more financially viable in the current environment. We are also pleased to have the support of our lenders in restructuring our debt obligations. Our business will continue its normal operations and we will publish content as usual throughout this process.”

The Company has filed a number of customary first day motions asking the Court for permission to, among other things, continue to pay employee wages and salaries and to provide employee benefits without interruption. The Company expects to pay its vendors and service providers on normal terms for post-petition goods and services provided in the ordinary course of business.

The Company filed its voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Additional information about the Company’s restructuring is available at the Company’s website at www.journalregister.com. For access to Court documents and other general information, please visit http://chapter11.epiqsystems.com/journalregister.

The Journal Register Company is strategically situated within six major metropolitan areas, circulating to 469,000 daily newspaper customers and reaching about 3.4 million through weekly and other non-daily publications. We are in Greater Philadelphia, metropolitan Detroit as well as much of Michigan, Connecticut, Greater Cleveland, and both the Capital-Saratoga and the Mid-Hudson regions of New York. Our products are the primary source of local news, sports and entertainment information within their regions. Managing over 200 newspaper and specialty Web sites offers the opportunity to expand the print products to increase their reach and grow their readership within our markets, as well as to extend outside and reach beyond those boundaries.

Minneapolis Star Tribune Bankruptcy

By DAVID PHELPS, Star Tribune

Date: January 16, 2009


The Star Tribune, saddled with high debt and a sharp decline in print advertising, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Thursday night.

Minnesota's largest newspaper will try to use bankruptcy to restructure its debt and lower its labor costs.

Chris Harte, the paper's publisher, said the filing would have no impact on home delivery, advertising, newsgathering or any other aspects of the paper's operations.

"We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to make this great Twin Cities institution stronger, leaner and more efficient so that it is well positioned to benefit when economic conditions begin to improve," Harte said in a statement.

The filing, which was made with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the southern district of New York, had been expected for months. It follows several missed payments to the paper's lenders, and it comes less than two years after a private equity group, New York-based Avista Capital Partners, bought the paper for $530 million.

In its filing, the newspaper listed assets of $493.2 million and liabilities of $661.1 million.

Like most newspapers, the Star Tribune has experienced a sharp decline in print advertising. Its earnings before interest, taxes and debt payments were about $26 million in 2008, down from about $59 million in 2007 and $115 million in 2004.

The Star Tribune, with Sunday circulation of 552,000, is the 10th-largest Sunday newspaper in the U.S. Its daily circulation of 334,000 makes it the 15th-largest daily based on circulation. The paper's website, StarTribune.com, averaged 76 million page views per month during the past six months, placing it among the top 10 newspaper websites in the nation.

It is the second major newspaper publisher to file for bankruptcy protection. The Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Time and Baltimore Sun among other publications and television stations, filed for bankruptcy in early December, burdened by $13 billion in debt and the same deteriorating advertising environment plaguing the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune may not be the last to go that route, said Alan Mutter, a Silicon Valley-based analyst and former newspaper executive.

"We're in a period of sustained pain for the newspaper business," Mutter said. "The employment ad business has been melting away since 2000. Automotive has been falling apart for the last couple of years. And I don't even have to explain about real estate."

Hearst Corp., owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, last week said it would close the 146-year-old paper if no buyer could be found in the coming months. Shares of the McClatchy Co., which sold the Star Tribune to Avista, have fallen 98 percent since the sale was announced, and the company has been trying to raise money by selling the land near the Miami Herald.

Total annual revenue at the Star Tribune peaked in 2000 at $400 million; by 2007 it was less than $300 million.

Over the past two years, Star Tribune management made several efforts to cut costs, mainly by reducing the workforce and renegotiating new cost-cutting contracts with its unions, which represent nearly two-thirds of the company's 1,405 full-time employee positions. Since 2007, the company said it had achieved cost reductions of $50 million through reduced news pages, attrition, layoffs, voluntary buyouts and other expense reductions. According to the company's filing, the workforce reduction amounts to 610 full-time employees.

In July, the Newspaper Guild, the union representing newsroom workers, agreed to a three-year contract that saved an estimated $2.5 million a year. But other unions refused to agree to new contracts.

In early December, however, Harte asked the unions for another $20 million in cost reductions and said he intended to impose $10 million in additional savings elsewhere in the company. Those negotiations resulted in no new agreements, however.

Graydon Royce, co-chair of the Star Tribune unit of the Newspaper Guild, said the union remained "committed to the future and the survival of the paper."

"It's unfortunate that a New York-based private equity company has put the Twin Cities largest source of news and information at risk," said Royce, a 29-year veteran and one of the newspaper's fine-arts writers.

Court documents indicate that two Avista investment funds own 96 percent of the equity in the Star Tribune, with Harte, through a family trust, owning the balance.

But that ownership structure is likely to change by the time the company emerges from bankruptcy. In a restructuring, a company's lenders often convert some or all of their debt to equity in the company. In that process, the existing owners often see their equity reduced or eliminated.

Bankruptcy protection is a calculated risk, experts say. If all the interested parties can find common ground, the company can survive. But sacrifices, from pay cuts to revised loan terms, are likely required.

"They need a new capital structure. They need a plan of how the company is going to pay off debts and obtain financing," said Gregory Duhl, a law professor who teaches bankruptcy at William Mitchell College of Law.

Chicago Tribune Bankruptcy

CHICAGO, December 8, 2008 -- Tribune Company today announced that it is voluntarily restructuring its debt obligations under the protection of Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company will continue to operate its media businesses during the restructuring, including publishing its newspapers and running its television stations and interactive properties without interruption, and has sufficient cash to do so.

The Chicago Cubs franchise, including Wrigley Field, is not included in the Chapter 11 filing. Efforts to monetize the Cubs and its related assets will continue.

"Over the last year, we have made significant progress internally on transitioning Tribune into an entrepreneurial company that pursues innovation and stronger ways of serving our customers," said Sam Zell, chairman and CEO of Tribune. "Unfortunately, at the same time, factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm -- a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy coupled with a credit crisis that makes it extremely difficult to support our debt.

"We believe that this restructuring will bring the level of our debt in line with current economic realities, and will take pressure off our operations, so we can continue to work toward our vision of creating a sustainable, cutting-edge media company that is valued by our readers, viewers, and advertisers, and plays a vital role in the communities we serve. This restructuring focuses on our debt, not on our operations."

The company filed today for Court approval of various, customary First-Day Motions, including: maintaining employee payroll and health benefits; the fulfillment of certain pre-filing obligations; the continuation of the Tribune’s cash management system; the ability to honor all customer programs. The company anticipates its First-Day Motions will be approved in the next few days.

While the company has sufficient cash to continue operations, to supplement its cash availability in the event of even more significant declines in its operating results, the company has negotiated an agreement with Barclays to maintain post-filing its existing securitization facility. Barclays has also agreed to provide a letter of credit facility. The company expects to submit these agreements to the Court for approval as part of its First Day Motions.

Since going private last year, Tribune has re-paid approximately $1 billion of its senior credit facility. During this time, the company has been rewriting the business model for its media assets with the goal of building a sustainable, innovative, competitive company that provides relevant products for its customers and communities.

For further information on Tribune Company’s Chapter 11 filing, please visit Tribune.com or http://chapter11.epiqsystems.com/tribune, or call 888-287-7568. The company will provide updates regarding ongoing operations plans as they become available.

Introduction

The intent will be to add new information on print media changes as they occur. However, there are some significant vendor closures and Chapter 11 Bankruptcies that occurred in the past few months that we want to note, and as such we will begin 'backtracking'.