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Sun-Times Media Group News

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, May 8, 2008.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Our friends there got this:

    May 7, 2008

    To All Sun-Times Media Group employees:

    Today, our company announced we have notified the New York Stock Exchange that we do not intend to cure the deficiencies we face regarding the listing of our stock with the NYSE. With this decision, we expect the NYSE to therefore delist our company’s shares. We expect to move trading of our shares to the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board (“OTCBB”).

    Our press release is attached to this email and is also posted at www.thesuntimesgroup.com, as are all of our press releases.

    The company weighed the cost and the likelihood of various actions we could take to avoid delisting. It could be a lengthy and costly process to meet NYSE’s listing standards, and there is no guarantee we could get there. In the end, the company decided this was the best course.

    I want to make something very clear: This decision will not affect the company’s financial status or our organization. Where our stock is listed has no effect on the way we conduct our business or serve our readers and advertisers. Moreover, it has no effect on Sun-Times Media Group’s previously announced plan to explore strategic options, which could include selling all or parts of the company. That process is moving forward.

    Sun-Times Media Group remains a publicly traded company that must continue to adhere to all current SEC regulatory and disclosure practices, and report to shareholders on the same basis it has been. Nothing has changed with the shares themselves. Shareholders, including employees, remain shareholders.

    The OTCBB is an electronic quotation system that allows market makers to enter bid-and-ask quotations in non-listed securities and offers investors real-time access to quotes, last-sale prices and volume information. So instead of trading stock on the NYSE, our stock would be traded on the OTCBB.

    Our competitors may try to hijack the truth and tarnish our reputation. They may speculate that delisting will damage our position in the business marketplace. If you hear this scare-talk, from within our organization or externally -- put an end to it. The Sun-Times News Group remains a vibrant franchise with more than $100 million of cash, delivering the most local news in the most places across the Chicago region. Times are tough in our industry, but our spirit remains strong.


    Cyrus Freidheim
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    And then they got this:

    Next Steps for Fox Valley Publications

    I would like to tell you about important changes to the senior management team at Fox Valley Publications, as well as the strategy we’ve developed for accelerating our transition to an integrated, multimedia company.

    I’m also going to ask all of you to share your thoughts and ideas as we build a new and exciting future for our company.

    First, the management changes:

    · Bob Wall has been appointed Vice President Advertising for the Fox Valley group. All local advertising managers will now report directly to Bob. As a result, Steve Vanisko will become Fox Valley advertising director, focusing on our core Joliet market, as well as major group projects on behalf of Fox Valley and STNG.

    · Rick Nagel has been named Vice President Editorial for Fox Valley. In this role, Rick will be responsible for creating and managing a new Fox Valley Universal Media Desk, described in more detail further in this memo.

    · Jerry Alger, former publisher of the Naperville Sun, returns to Fox Valley on Monday, May 12, as Vice President Business Operations. Jerry will have a variety of responsibilities, starting with circulation sales initiatives.

    This talented and streamlined management team will allow us to act quickly in a period of profound change for our newspapers. In addition, I will shift from President of Fox Valley Publications to President and Publisher.

    I want to elaborate a bit on the “profound change” mentioned above. When I returned to Fox Valley late last year, I sent a memo saying we must become trailblazers, finding new ways to engage our readers and advertisers. As obvious – even clichéd – as those words may have seemed, the challenges today are even greater than they were five months ago.

    I don’t believe it is necessary to recount all the economic, competitive and revenue pressures we’re facing. The industry-wide erosion of circulation and advertising has been widely reported.

    What is necessary now is we turn our full attention to creating growth and new opportunities.

    The process begins by acknowledging we can no longer continue with “business as usual.” Those who stubbornly cling to the past will not help shape a prosperous future. That does not imply we ever dilute such core strengths as quality local journalism or superior customer service; it does suggest we think and act differently.

    We’ve already taken important steps to restructure our business. In ad production, newspaper distribution, circulation service and inbound classified sales, we’ve aligned ourselves with leading companies that simultaneously reduce costs and improve service. Some good initiatives have also come from various newsroom and advertising programs designed to expand our interactive offerings.

    But the pace needs to quicken. We have yet to transition to a true multimedia company, providing our readers and advertisers the perfect mix of what they want, when they want it and in whatever format they choose.

    Fox Valley can lead the transition for the Sun-Times News Group. We should all expect the journey will be difficult at times, but also exhilarating.

    In addition to the management changes, here are the building blocks of the plan:

    1. We’re moving to a flexible and efficient “hub and spoke” model, centralizing certain editing, advertising and circulation functions at the Aurora building.

    2. We will establish the Fox Valley Universal Media Desk, also in our new facility in Aurora. Sitting at the Universal Media Desk will be two senior editors, reporting to Rick Nagel: Senior Content Editor, Newspapers, and Senior Content Editor, Interactive. (These positions have yet to be filled.) The Universal Media Desk will have responsibility for coordinating, editing, designing and ensuring the smooth flow of print pages and digital content. We will emphasize a “Web first” mindset for breaking news, and daily news budgets will fully integrate deadlines for the Web and the newspapers.

    3. Managing Editors will stay at each community location, with local reporters and photographers also remaining within their communities

    4. With the exception of Naperville, local sales managers and their staffs will also remain at each community location. As noted, all sales managers will now report to Bob Wall. Bob will also work closely with the STNG vertical sales groups and advertising colleagues at other divisions.

    5. Circulation sales managers will report to Jerry Alger, and in conjunction with marketing, deploy highly-targeted newspaper circulation growth programs across Fox Valley.

    The first step in the transition will involve the Naperville office. Because of its proximity, unlike other offices, the Naperville ad sales team will move to the Aurora facility. Also transferring to Aurora will be most Naperville editors, as we start constructing the Universal Media Desk. Once the move is complete, print and Web pages for Naperville and Aurora will be produced from this desk. We will focus on other newsrooms after the Naperville transition is in place.

    I’m certain many of you have questions about the new organization. We will be visiting each location over the next few days to further elaborate on the vision, and answer what we can. Some things are still on the drawing board. Part of the conversation will be us asking you for your input and suggestions.

    I’m hoping for, and counting on, many of you to provide insight and guidance as we move forward. To facilitate that conversation, the following email address has been set up for any contributions, questions or ideas you may have:


    Rick, Bob, Jerry or I will respond to all the emails we receive.

    Although the transition will inevitably have its bumps and twists, this is a creative time for our company and should be rewarding for those who embrace change. We are building a new model for our business. With your support, creativity and energy, I have no doubt as to our success.

    Fred Lebolt

    President & Publisher, Fox Valley Publications
  3. I'm hardly an expert, but de-listing can't be a good thing.
  4. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    It is not.
    I just got a link to something in Forbes about 10 industries in trouble.
    We shouldn't have to work hard to guess what was one of them.
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