Sunday, November 23, 2008

Predicting McClatchy’s future

From comments, here's a prediction of McClatchy's short term future:

This company is facing a desperate need for cash as it faces paying off its debt. At this pace, within two months at least it will be in control of the bankers, who are a bloodless lot. They will reduce wages where there is no contract, and try to negotiate give-backs with the unions. They also will entice people to leave, but will not be offering any buyouts because that worsens MNI's precarious position. I also expect them to move more health care costs to employees, suspend the 401K payments, hike ad rates, and curtail travel. I also believe they will close the Washington bureau, which makes so little money for the operation with the McClatchy wire that it cannot carry its weight by itself.
Folks, the paragraph above tells you what to expect at McClatchy over the next weeks and months. And as for the Washington bureau, McClatchy has not cut any staff there, despite eliminating 20 percent of the employees at its 30 daily newspapers. DC bureau chief John Walcott complains he has lost some staff (David Westphal and 2 regional reporters) due to attrition and other reasons. The Cairo bureau is on hiatus, too. (I blogged about the DC bureau -- "The Untouchables" -- here.) I don't foresee the DC bureau being shut down, but a major reduction -- 30 percent, 40 percent, maybe more -- is inevitable.
What will McClatchy cut next?


Anonymous said...

We all just signed up for health care for a year the plan and cost. So if in business I don't see them cutting that.

Anonymous said...

I would like to BEG people to QUIT DYING so my Sunday KC Star will having something to print about except DEAD PEOPLE.

Dave D. said...

..Whatever McClatchy cuts, it won't be enough. They owe way more than their payroll, their capital, their real estate or their petty cash can cover. McClatchy is bankrupt now, they just haven't faced up to it. Dead man walking. Default is inevitable and what's coming is way worse than what's occurred up till today. McClatchy's default will ripple through the Banks who lent them money and break the investments of countless folks who had salted those bucks away month by month, with great difficulty, for their retirement, their kids college, to start a business. Aw, you say, those folks are covered by FDIC guarentee's and won't be hurt at all. Not so. The value that McClatchy wasted will devalue our currency and raise inflation. Whatever monies you have coming out of this will be worth less. Gary was gambling with OUR MONEY, our national economy, our savings.
...In a country with less respect for rule of law, he'd be gracing a light poll as decoration.

Anonymous said...

I agree the bankers are going to take control. The first step they will take is to dump Pruitt and send him off to manage motels like his father. Then they will clean out the Sacto stable of these $500,000 do-nothing vice presidents. It would save about $14 million to axe top management, and the banks might get a lot of support for this from the editors and publishers, some of whom have been vocal about Pruitt's lousy leadership.

Anonymous said...

Yep, bottom liners. No more nice-to-have. Don't cover your costs, you're a goner in this environment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:20 a.m.: KC Star obits are paid advertising, handled by the classified advertising department. That's revenue for the Star. So what you're saying when you complain about the number of obits, is that you'd prefer that the paper turn down revenue. Sadly, that would mean a smaller local section, probably fewer reporters and even less local news.

Are you sure that's what you want?

Anonymous said...

N & O Management comments:

"At this point, the social goal should not be to save newspapers, but to save journalism."

"I can see a role for newspapers in this 'demassification' where newspapers pull back to the essence of the watchdog function…….”
Watching the media watch Obama was entertaining, watchdog function?

Anonymous said...

7:16 I hope your paper goes down if that's all you expect people to pay for. Get real your obits are not going to make it. Your building is all ready for sale... by the way, that helped to put all of our jobs at risk. You spent $200 million dollars for a product of "obits"? Please.. By the way that advertising that your so proud of is being done in INDIA.

You must have a job in that wonderful building.

Anonymous said...

The print media is guilty of malpractice in their reporting on Obama’s weaknesses during this past election. They may congratulate themselves on a job well done, but the public at large has been made aware of their liberal bias, and outright corruption.

Now they want to sell a damaged product to the dummies? Meanwhile, the dummies are busy online gathering news from many sources rather than the one way communication of the petrified dinosaur newspapers. There is some sort of justice in the demise of the source of dishonest reporting.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that's what you want?
Absolutely. They've decided the local section is the best place to hide their commentary anyway so who cares? They laid off most of the local reporters outside the inner city, midtown, affirmative action hires. Why would I give a damn if Mike Hendricks is the only thing in the local section to read at all?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:05
I was responding to this comment: “I would like to BEG people to QUIT DYING so my Sunday KC Star will having something to print about except DEAD PEOPLE.”
To a reasonable person, that suggests the commenter is unhappy with the quantity of local news. I simply offered information: obits are paid advertising, without them the local section gets smaller, and there’s less local news.

But since you asked, here’s my response to your (please note the correct use of the word) comments:

“I hope your paper goes down if that's all you expect people to pay for.”
Suit yourself. But no, I expect that the folks who picked up this morning’s paper also were paying for Rick Montgomery’s intriguing piece about responsible people who’ve lived within their means having to pay for bailouts of fat-cat executives and deadbeats. They paid for Dave Helling’s analysis of the fate of the Republican party. They paid for Ed Evald’s uplifting story about an early Thanksgiving celebration resulting from a local church’s benevolence, for Joe Robertson’s insightful story about how the economy is affecting DECA students’ career choices and for David Klepper’s backgrounder on the Kansas legislative leadership races. They also paid for a nicely done House and Home section on cheap Thanksgivings with three really excellent profiles by Stacy Downs about what’s really important on the upcoming holiday. They paid for 30 or so advertising inserts and yes, they paid for obits, particularly if they have a friend or family member who died.

“Get real your obits are not going to make it.”
Didn’t say they would. Just pointed out that they’re revenue, not news stories that some reporter had to write instead of covering other local news.

“Your building is all ready for sale... by the way, that helped to put all of our jobs at risk. You spent $200 million dollars for a product of "obits"? Please..”
Whose jobs did that building put in jeopardy? Not anyone at other McClatchy papers. The press was already under construction when MNI purchased Knight Ridder, and Gary Pruitt and Co. certainly had the option of putting The Star up for sale along with the other 12 orphans. They didn’t. And no, The Star didn’t install new presses for a product of obits. It installed new presses for higher quality reproduction -- like the two really fabulous photos on the front of today’s local section.

“By the way that advertising that your so proud of is being done in INDIA.”
Maybe, maybe not. It was my understanding that the jobs shipped overseas were in accounting and ad make-up.

“You must have a job in that wonderful building.”
Actually, no. I’m merely a long time reader of The Star.

Anonymous said...

12:31 About how long it took for you to type the content in todays paper was about how long it took to read the paper. Obits, Ads and Pictures, that's all folks.

Since you seem to know NOTHING about the ADVERTISING DIVISION they are being done now in INDIA. Why don't you ask just how many hundreds have lost their jobs. Oh, you don't care. If you read this site much you would know these things. You won't find that in the KC Star.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I get the anti-obit guy's angle. He wants fewer obits? More news? He's anti-revenue? He wants to play Death in a chess match like in "The Seventh Seal"?

Maybe his time would be better spent with a dictionary and a guide to English capitalization. Or just staring quietly out the window with a nice cup of warm milk and honey.

Anonymous said...

1:30 Won't be long and we'll see who is right about content. I' ll check in here in 6 months then we'll know if readers agree with you and McClatchy papers are doing well.

I understand from Star people that the FREE publication of "INK" (without obits)is covering the overhead now.

Anonymous said...

1:30 I think the guy wants some content that is worth the price he pays for the paper.

Anonymous said...

Have Steve Penn and Lewis "socialism is racist code" Diuguid finished their riveting series on their participation at the black columnist's convention. Because how many times do we readers need to read about this conference (which by the way seems to be what Steve and Lewis) spend a lot of their time on.

The KC Star has way way too many columnists on the payroll and they pretty much are worthless to read.

Anonymous said...


Baffling. Why doesn't he just read blogs? I'm told they're the wave of the future.

Anonymous said...

Ahem, that's Lewis "You can't say socialist, because I am black" Duiguid and if you haven't noticed, those hard core political nutballs and race baiter's are the only ones that have not been laid off.

That is the future of the KC Star. Even if they lose everything else, they will move these people into office space and publish their crap to keep the true believers in line.

Without fuel for class warfare and special treatment for a few, people will forget the lessons being shoved down their throats and heaven forbid, start finding things in common.

Anonymous said...

McClatchy has no future!!!
Perhaps a year or two ago they may have been able to turn around the company if they had seen the writing on the wall. They are dead in the water, the slow train wreck has just about come to a grinding halt!
What will you rename McClatchy Watch after they are gone?