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daytona beach paper to be sold

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mark DeCotis, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Mark  DeCotis

    Mark DeCotis New Member

    From Romenesko: Memo to Daytona Beach News-Journal employees

    From: Corporate
    Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 11:20 AM
    To: News-Journal Everyone
    Subject: News-Journal Corporation

    Dear News-Journal Corporation family and friends,

    In light of the appellate court's denial of News-Journal Corporation's last request for rehearing, the options available to the company have narrowed to the point that it is now clear that the company will be sold as a going business. All other options are foreclosed by the result of the litigation and the terribly unfavorable conditions in the credit market and the capital market. We do not yet know the form this sale will take or the timing, but we know that is will be sold as a going and continuing business.

    All of us are anxious to know what will happen to us personally after this transition period. We want to assure you that we care about your personal well-being and will help you to the best of our ability with any issues concerning your employment. Change here is inevitable, but whatever happens this business will continue operating as a going concern. It will not close or stop doing business.

    You have read that "dissolution" of the corporation is one possibility. This would not be the same as a piecemeal sale of assets but rather a sale of the whole business. Whatever transpires, your pension, 401(k) funds and other funds outside the company are protected by contract and by Federal regulation.

    Throughout this litigation, you have done a great job of staying focused on producing high quality publications. Thank you very much. It continues to be in all of our best interests to continue working positively during these difficult times.


    Marc L. Davidson
    Georgia M. Kaney
    David R. Kendall
    Julia Davidson Truilo
    Robert Truilo
  2. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    Fuck. The memo is on the paper's Web site at the top. In the comments section,aA bunch of imbeciles are applauding and saying they hope all of the reporters and editors are sent packing. They're filled with vitriol. They're being so damned mean. I have done some freelance work for the paper, and I like almost everyone there. A lot of great people. I can't believe how they're being treated by readers. It makes me sick. I'd like to find a few of those people and slap them hard. What the fuck is wrong with people? I've posted three replies to their BS, and it's only making it worse. Sometimes I think the human race is SOL. Fuck.

    The News-Journal will be fine, but it's going to be some rough going. I know of one sports writer who left and went to Salt Lake City. Another took a teaching job at a college. The paper isn't the world's greatest, but it's not bad for the staff size.

    Their editor, Dave Markowitz, is good people. Brian McLaughlin, their preps editor, is fucking epic. The guy takes preps more seriously than anyone I've met. All of the coaches rave about him. He's the best preps editor I've ever met, and I've met a few good ones.

    I have my fingers crossed. It's a growing area. So they'll find a buyer. I believe Palm Coast, just north of Daytona, was ranked one of the top two growing cities in a story that came out a few weeks ago. Things are growing by leaps and bounds to the west of Daytona, too. It'll be interesting to see how things play out. I believe NYT bought two papers within the last year in Central Florida, but those were much smaller operations.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    The last time I was in Daytona, everyone was reading Florida Today or the Sentinel...
  4. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    This is too bad. I used to work in Daytona Beach and still have a lot of friends there. The Davidsons had their quirks, like the blind support of theatre and music that caused this trouble, but they did care about covering their area and putting out, for its size, an OK newspaper. Among other things, the N-J is one of the few papers of its size with an editorial cartoonist.

    Now some chain will buy it, gut it, and there will be one less voice in the newspaper world.
  5. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    I'm intimately familiar with all three papers. All three have their pluses and minuses. If someone is looking for the most focused coverage of that city and that county, though, their first choice would be the News-Journal. I do two to three news stories a week for the News-Journal, and I almost never see an Orlando reporter. They often have bigger fish to fry, and Daytona is right at the edge of the Sentinel's coverage area. Orlando does make a strong effort in sports, but that's been challenged by staff and budget cuts from that grand ol' sweetheart Sam Zell.

    There are many reasons a Daytona resident might prefer the Orlando Sentinel or Florida Today, but it wouldn't be for hyper-local coverage. In fact, Orlando doesn't set foot in Palm Coast unless there's a truly big event taking place. That's standard coverage area for the News-Journal. I don't even know where I could buy Florida Today.

    It's just another in a long series of disappointments for the industry. But OTD is correct in saying that much of this mess stems from the art-crazy local ownership of the paper. I know staffers who had reservations with pouring so much into the arts and neglecting other areas, sports included. But they also enjoyed a great company environment, one without all the formality of a larger, strictly corporate-run newspaper.
  6. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I was in Daytona one year, and my computer fried. Would not work. Would not turn on. I had to have our paper call down there and beg those guys to fix it. I packed up my shit, drove over to their office, and about four hours later I had a working laptop.

    So bless the DBNJ. Bless them all. And I will keep my fingers crossed for them.
  7. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Nobody in Daytona reads Florida Today. It's not even distributed in Daytona. Hell, the Sentinel doesn't even care about the east side of Volusia County.

    One thing you can say about the Davidsons is this: They put money back into the community and accepted lower profit margins to do it. Most papers these days figure an NIE program is the only "putting money into the community" they have to do.

    The NJ does a standout job of local news coverage; on the flip side, sports has covered the sports people in its coverage area care about --- and that's not local-local-local. As best they can, they've tried to cover sports like a bigger paper.

    Somebody's going to buy and destroy a decent paper, and it's Cox's fault because they had a hissie fit when the Davidsons didn't go for a 29 percent profit margin.
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    One thing none of the stories I read addressed is whether Cox is going to buy it (or can). If so, there would be worse companies to be owned by. These kinds of minority ownership things don't usually work very well -- Knight Ridder was always pissed off about how the Seattle Times was run (KR owned 49.5 percent). If you don't get to call the shots, all you're going to care about is the money. That stake in the Seattle Times was owned by the Ridders and became part of KR when Knight and Ridder merged. And Cox acquired its interest in Daytona Beach when it bought Palm Beach in 1969. So in neither case was the partnership really sought, it was inherited, and naturally there would be friction.
  9. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    A pal of mine works there and I talked to him earlier today.
    He's thrilled because he figures the new owners will clear out the deadwood.
  10. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Axes swing wildly sometimes. He should be careful what he wishes for.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Ding ding ding.

    Everybody always thinks, "Good, maybe they'll clear some deadwood." What happens is exactly the opposite: The most talented and/or hardest working employees, the ones with options, take advantage of those opportunities and find a better situation. Maybe some good, important, older employees, trying to save a few jobs, will step aside and retire.

    What you're left with is a lot of deadwood. And if you're not the deadwood, it's even tougher.
  12. maumann

    maumann Active Member

    I've never worked anywhere where there weren't a few whackos full of vitriol, screaming in your face about how badly you suck and wishing you'll get fired and leave town. Amazingly, I've found it's the same for a community newspaper as well as a national Web site with millions of hits a day.

    The nut jobs think they have the God-given right to call you every name in the book. It's particularly bad with the ability to hide behind anonymous message boards and e-mails.

    But those folks are still reading or listening every single day, looking for reasons to heap abuse on you the next time they see you. Every place has people full of fail -- and you can't let that affect the way you do your job.

    The vast majority of satisfied people don't call the newspaper to say, "hey, thanks for doing a great job every day." You only hear from the assholes with an axe to grind.

    Still, I'd rather have angry readers than apathetic ones.
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