Thursday, January 29, 2009

Will the Seattle Times, half-owned by McClatchy, be the next newspaper to file for bankruptcy?

Guild administrators and insiders at the Seattle Times have begun openly mentioning bankruptcy as a possible scenario for the troubled newspaper.

On Wednesday, worries that the dominant Seattle daily may soon file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection crept out into the open when an administrator for the union that represents Times employees mentioned the possibility in an e-mail to union members.


"Within the Guild we have been preparing for a number of worst-case scenarios, including the possibility that the Times might enter the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process," wrote Liz Brown, administrator for the union, the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild.


Brown's e-mail came in response to an earlier e-mail from Times managers suggesting that a union employee pension freeze might be sought in upcoming contract negotiations. Brown's e-mail also noted the "scary times for newspapers and newspaper employees" and predicted that the Times would seek further concessions from the union when those contract negotiations get underway. (The paper has already instituted unpaid furloughs and pension freezes for its non-union managers.)


After Brown's e-mail went out, Alayne Fardella, Senior Vice President for Business Operations at The Seattle Times Company, sent a response to Times managers. Fardella specifically mentioned Brown's e-mail, did not deny that Chapter 11 is a possibility, and said the company is keeping all options open.


Among Times reporters, according to one newsroom source, it's "commonly understood, or presumed" that a bankruptcy filing by the Times is "a very likely next step within the year." However, at a staff meeting on Wednesday, David Boardman, executive editor for the Times, presented bankruptcy as a last-ditch option—and a highly unappealing one to the paper's owners, given that it would allow a court to step in and exert a certain amount of control over the paper's business model. The implication was that significant concessions by the reporters' union in upcoming contract negotiations could help avoid that difficult scenario.

Hat tip: Romenesko
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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Democrats love to bash the GOP with union busting. what do you call it when these ultraliberal news rags bust union contracts?

Anonymous said...

Oh horrors, no free newsies at the slosh houses? [Gasp]

Anonymous said...

Hearing that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram hasn't paid freelancers for over a month.

Archer05 said...

www.sfgate.com
CALIFORNIA
Newspaper staffs told to take leave
Tom Abate
Thursday, January 29, 2009

About 3,300 staffers who work at 29daily newspapers in California run by the MediaNews Group must take an unpaid, one-week furlough in February or March as a possible alternative to layoffs, the company said Wednesday.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/28/BAPC15JEIE.DTL

Archer05 said...

The Capital-Gazette in Annapolis didn’t beat around the bush, they at least came straight out with the bad news. Some employees say they would rather hear the truth than live in a rumor mill.
------
-Capital-Gazette cuts jobs; will print elsewhere-

The Capital ‘s Executive Editor & Publisher, Tom Marquardt, reported that 29 percent of its parent company's workforce will soon be GONE.

“The revenues for what should be fat December newspapers were "so far off our worst expectations."

http://www.hometownannapolis.com/cgi-bin/read/2009/01_28-31/TOP

Anonymous said...

Word is, many coffee houses have closed and canceled their subscriptions. Seattle Democrat/leeches are grief-stricken without their daily liberal propaganda report. Without it, they may even have a fair election, and elect their government officials without fraud. No more three ballot recounts? Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting for the ultraliberal Seattle, with all their
business-killing regulations, to cry for the rest of us to bail them out of their liberal spending debt.

Anonymous said...

Seattle is soon going to be re-named 'Skedaddle' if the environmental extremists stay in charge. It costs big bucks to become extreme greenies, pay to play time.