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The Future: Private or Corporate Owned?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Your Huckleberry, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. A friend of mine and I were talking and we had an interesting conversation. He works for a family-owned newspaper while I work for a corporate-run publication. We discussed the pros and cons of each and we discussed where we thought newspapers were heading. We both seem to think that eventually, if things continue to spiral similar to what they have, that corporate media giants might sell off their newspapers to smaller, private investors.

    It seems simple to me that private owned-newspapers are more profitable than corporate-run publications since they don't need to meet certain budgets to help cover for papers that are losing money in a chain outfit. Their product is typically better because they invest more in it, too.

    Instead of thinking that the newspaper industry is dying and, does anyone think it's plausible that many newspapers may eventually return to private or family ownership where they can be still be highly successful but just on a smaller scale considering the changing media market?

    Anybody care to chime in?
  2. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    Re: The Future: Private or Coporate Owned?

    I have no clue whatsoever, but I'm with you guys in hoping that things go private.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Been on both. Been on two that were privately owned and then sold, never been on one that had the opposite happen. Last time I was there for a sale, some things got worse, some things got better. It got stingier, but on the other hand I thought we became more businesslike about the content. I'd say I was in the minority in thinking it was an improvement, but I just found it easier to do my job thinking only of the readers' interests rather than considering what each glass office found interesting -- most of them dropped their pet interests after the publisher made it clear that it was now a paper for readers rather than for other journalists. I think also that in a corporate setting, incompetents can rise and stay in power, but lunatics are less likely to.

    I just don't see private local ownership as being a major trend. In any given market, there is going to be a very small number of people who could afford to do this in the first place, and how many of them are going to have the interest, skill and experience?
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    There is a third option: Ownership by a nonprofit foundation. An excellent way for a family owned paper to avoid the corporate sellout.
  5. IGotQuestions

    IGotQuestions Member

    I will say, publicly traded media companies face more scrutiny and have more pressure to perform.
  6. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    I've worked for both chain and privately owned newspapers and I have to say the current family owned operation is better at least from my experience. We actually have weekly email updates on circulation, ad revenue compared to last year and other facets of the company's operation straight from the publisher, whose family has owned the paper and has roots in the community for more than 100 years.

    In the 12 years I've worked there we have never missed a raise or a yearly bonus and many of our suggestions to make our shop a better newspaper are listened to and implemented.
  7. Sounds like smart ownership to me.
  8. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    Sounds like you work for the ideal company to sign on with. Congrats.
  9. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    We have a four person full time staff and I have been here the shortest time of the four of us...12 years. I thought I might like a change of scenery last year but after reading many of the horror stories at SportsJournalists.com and seeing what was out there I decided to stay put and I am glad I did.
  10. FishHack76

    FishHack76 Active Member

    I think more and more newspapers will look to private ownership - even if it can be hit or miss sometimes. I wouldn't be surprised if most companies abandon the stock market some day. The demands of shareholders has climbed way above reasonable expectations. Long-term thinking has gone out the window, which is sad because I think that's what a company needs to survive.
    Those expectations and the actions of panicked companies is hurting the economy as well. When you lay off someone, they can't buy that new boat. Therefore the boat company has to lay off employees. Then the boat company employee can't buy a new car so the auto factory has to lay off some workers and on and on down the chain.
  11. IGotQuestions

    IGotQuestions Member

    It's telling that Sam Zell wants to take Tribune private. And with newspapers carrying such big debt, I wouldn't be surprised to see other rich billionaires and leveraged-buyout firms snapping up newspapers.
  12. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    Privately held = Paxton. Corporate owned = CNHI.

    In one hand you have a steaming pile of shit. In the other, a bag full of vomit.

    There is no difference.
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