Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tribune’s monthly operating report filed with the bankruptcy court last week says the company’s bill for professional fees since its 2008 Chapter 11 filing now totals $212.9 million, with another $17.8 million on lawyers’ expenses, reports Crain’s Lynne Marek. (The fees totaled $157 million last May, according to a Wall Street Journal story from that month.) Crain’s reports today:

Tribune’s financial results appear to be improving. The monthly operating report filed on Jan. 24 shows the Chicago-based company increased its cash balance to $2.05 billion as of Dec. 25 from $1.78 billion a year earlier.

Net income also rose at year-end, to $62.1 million from Nov. 21 through Dec. 25, vs. $43.3 million for roughly the same period in 2010, the report said. Revenue for the five-week period was flat, at $330.6 million.

* Tribune’s bankruptcy bill is $231 million and counting
* May 2011: Tribune bankrupcy fees hit $150 million
* March 2010: Lawyers in Tribune case warned about charging more than $1,000/hour

These ads have been circulating on Facebook in recent days, but Charles Apple points out in comments that he wrote about them in 2010. (Update: Adweek did too.)

Philadelphia Media Network CEO Greg Osberg has responded to the New York Post story about Alden Global selling its stake in the Inquirer and Daily News. “A single minority owner does not have the right to sell the entire company, only their percentage of ownership,” he writes.

From: Osberg, Greg
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 2:19 PM
To: All Employees; All PMN Employees
Subject: Update

In yesterday’s NY Post there was an article on Alden Global, one of our minority owners. The article discusses some of Alden’s current media investments and speculates what they may be doing in the future. As one of Philadelphia Media Network’s minority shareholders, Alden and other shareholders, have the right to increase or decrease their ownership stake with existing shareholders, or new shareholders at anytime. This type of activity has been taking place since PMN was created in October 2010. A single minority owner does not have the right to sell the entire company, only their percentage of ownership.

If you have any questions on this article, your departmental leaders have been briefed and they are prepared to meet with you. Please stay focused on the tasks at hand so we can achieve our 2012 goals.

Thank you,


* Earlier: Bosses at Philly papers silent on New York Post report

“I think it is fair to say that, among our crowd, the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of The Penn Stater was the most anticipated university magazine edition in many years.” – editor of a blog that covers university magazines

* Once in a Career

Political Fiber, which launches Wednesday, will have news “designed to engage students in both the production and consumption of serious [political] issues coverage,” says a press release. Several recent University of Kansas graduates and current students have been hired to work on the site, along with faculty advisor Pam Fine.

Fine said she was inspired by two goals: to teach and inspire journalism students to do serious public affairs coverage, and second, to help build the demand for it, especially in young adults. She said a media study from Northwestern University in 2008 found an unmet need among college students for political coverage that was specifically geared toward them.

* University of Kansas launches site with political news for students

It’s past noon in Philadelphia and staffers at the Inquirer and Daily News have yet to get a memo from management about the New York Post’s Sunday story on the Philadelphia Media Network papers being for sale. (The only reaction was in today’s Inquirer story about the Post report.) The Guild, however, did sent a bulletin to members yesterday “to alleviate mass hysteria,” I’m told. Here it is:

From: “Guild Bulletin”
Date: January 29, 2012 2:47:17 PM EST
Subject: New York Post reports Inquirer, Daily News are for sale

Dear Guild member,

The New York Post reported this morning that Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and, is up for auction with a major investor, Alden Global, planning to exit.

Here is a link to the story.

We are working to find out more about this situation and have asked the company to address the matter to its employees. We hope to see some communication from PMN soon.

Meanwhile, on another matter, Guild leaders were previously scheduled to meet with senior management and the editors of the Inquirer, Daily News and on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the “One Newsroom” concept and will update the membership after that discussion.

In solidarity,

Dan Gross, President
Bill Ross, Executive Director,
and the Executive Board of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia/Communications Workers of America Local 38010

“I thought it was interesting — the body language between the two,” AP photographer Haraz Ghanbari tells me over the phone. “But frankly, I didn’t think it was going to create this much international interest. People have been talking about this for so long – they’re still talking about it today.”

Ghanbari realized the impact of his photo of President Barack Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer once the emails and phone calls started pouring in.

“I heard from people I haven’t heard from in 5 or 6 years,” says the 30-year-old photojournalist. “I got at least 50 emails. …I got emails from bosses in New York, from bosses in DC, and from the bureau chief in Arizona. I got emails from people who retired from the AP long ago.”

What’s he going to do with the photo that NBC anchor Brian Williams said “the whole world is talking about”?

“Every picture I’ve taken I’ve kept,” says Ghanbari. “I have everything backed up, and this is going to go with them. I don’t plan to do anything fancy with it.”

* Behind the Obama-Brewer picture, a very attentive photographer
* WP ombud: Was Obama really “testy” with Brewer?
* Earlier: Ghanbari kept a down-on-luck Marine from an anonymous grave

* David Carr: Murdoch says what’s on his mind on Twitter

New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital — one of 32 investors that acquired the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News in 2010 — wants to unload its stake in the newspapers’ parent company, according to the New York Post. A spokesman for the papers tells the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Mike Armstrong: “It would not be appropriate for Philadelphia Media Network to comment on a decision that Alden Global is making about their business.” Armstrong writes:

Private companies do not have to disclose when major shareholders increase or decrease ownership stakes. But such activity often occurs. And in general, a single minority shareholder controls only its shares and cannot, by itself, force an entire private company to be sold.

Meanwhile, the New York Times points out today that investors acquired newspapers in several major U.S. cities in the second half of 2011, including San Diego, Omaha and Chicago. Alden bought Journal Register Co. last July.

* Hedger pausing on print, reports New York Post
* Inquirer, Daily News cold be headed for sale
* Online ambitions and a dash of real estate drive newspaper deals

Texas journalist Jeremy Pafford recalls his only face-to-face meeting with Rick Perry. It was in 1998, and the then-agriculture commissioner wanted to know, “Where’s the Aggie?” — referring to the reporter who usually covered him.

That reporter, while working on his graduate degree, was working with chemicals in a lab that somehow made him sick, and he didn’t recover. He unexpectedly died, leaving behind a pregnant wife. It was a tragic reminder of how short our time on Earth can be, and now a month or so later I was breaking that news to our ag commissioner.

“Um, Mr. Perry, he unfortunately died about a month ago,” is what I remember starting out saying. Perry asked for some details, and I did the best I could, but the conversation derailed whatever the light-hearted ceremony was I was assigned to cover. Everything was off-script from there, and Perry isn’t good at going off-script — as everyone in the country now knows.

* A veteran Texas newsman on Rick Perry’s awkward ending