Baseball91's Weblog

January 16, 2009

Star Tribune Files for Bankrupcy


You can try to have someone do the translating.  What it means.  From Minneapolis-St.Paul to Denver to Seattle.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune filed for chapter 11 in a New York court late yesterday while the local media covered the story of the lives saved on the Hudson River. 


The news.  What story to go after?  Today?  Why today?  The manufactured news versus the stories that had to be worked at….with sources.  With interviews.  Notice how there are fewer stories these days.  Everywhere.  The year 2009 was now all about economic news.  It did not cost as much to cover statistics. 

by Mark Fitzgerald is editor-at-large at


January 16, 2009 ….. It wasn’t the economy, but Avista’s own business decisions that brought the Minneapolis Star Tribune to bankruptcy, Picard argues. In his blog “The Media Business,” Robert Picard writes that newspapers’ traditional influence in communities was based on a perception of financial probity.  A well-known academic expert on media economics who is editor of the Journal of Media Business Studies, Picard said “traditional” newspaper companies will continue to try to avoid bankruptcy.  Longtime newspaper companies also are in better shape than Tribune and the Star-Tribune, even those that have substantial debt such as McClatchy, Picard said. “Private equity is the most expensive debt,” he said.  The Avista Capital Management partners private equity investors and real estate businessman Sam Zell of the Chicago Tribune are operated by chief executives new to the newspaper business.  “For any of the traditional newspaper companies, (bankruptcy) would be the absolute last resort,” he said. “But, you know, once the dam breaks, sometimes it’s easy to just kind of wash your hands and go along with it. A lot of the old rules are out, but I hope the old rule of reputation stands.”

“They’re blaming the changes in the industry, they’re blaming the economy, they’re blaming the unions — when clearly the blame belongs in
New York with the managers of Avista,” Picard told E&P today.


World GDP                        $47 trillion

World stock valuation     $121 trillion

Bond market                      $85 trillion

Credit derivatives             $473 trillion


Stock and bonds.  Herds.  Speed.  Information.  Changing direction.  Panics.


China-America.  American consumption had started to build a new China.  22 times richer…we need a loan…cheap Chinese labor. American consumption of Chinese goods.


Plentiful Chinese saving.  Lower interest rates due to Chinese savings.    50% of all global growth, and 33% of the world economy.   When the Chinese lose money on us.  Will there be Chinese anger at us?  Or when will they turn on the loans?  Escalating political risk.


(MarketWatch) by John Friedman


“December 22, 2008

….Print journalist of the year — Allan Sloan, senior editor at large of Time Warner’s Fortune magazine.  Sloan, the premier business journalist of his generation, doesn’t write on a 24/7 basis. He may seem woefully out of step in the age of the blogosphere, where spewing ill-informed opinions often count for more than old-fashioned reporting.


But Sloan stands out because his pieces always include all of the finest qualities of journalism — in any age — analysis, clarity, curiosity, depth, empathy and a point of view.


The financial meltdown has been the story of the year because it has had an impact on so many people.   The story has been ongoing, beginning with the subprime disaster, and extending to the woes of Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Lehman Brothers and other once-glittering kings of finance. All the while, the stock market has crumbled.


The crisis has brought out the best in Sloan and his The Deal musings in the magazine.Main Street more than Wall Street in his simple, straight-forward imagery:


One of Sloan’s best pieces was published back in March and entitled “Don’t expect another bull market.”


Journalists everywhere should note that Sloan doesn’t get his points across with fancy writing. If anything, he reflects:


“Hello? Eight years of dead money in the broad stock market? How can that be, given that Ibbotson Associates says the S&P has returned an average of 10.3% a year, compounded, since 1926? Think of it as a six-foot man drowning in a pond with an average water level of six inches — if you step in at the wrong place, the water can be eight feet deep.”


Sloan reminds me of a veteran baseball pitcher who gets the batters out by drawing on his ample knowledge and experience, not because he has the best fastball in the league.”


More and more we will become a society that reads about the importance of statistics, instead of following the game.  Just as more and more the computer has made us all geeks.  A lot of old rules are out, but I hope the old rule of reputation stands.  If it doesn’t, there will be no place to discover who of your friends had died.  There will be no obituary page.  The obituary writer at the Star Tribune just took a buyout last week.  


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