Singleton Bails Out From Troubled MediaNews

Follow the money

Via Huffington News and the AP:

Dean Singleton Steps Down As MediaNews President

SAN FRANCISCO — MediaNews Group Inc., the owner of the San Jose Mercury News in California, The Denver Post and more than 50 other newspapers, plans to replace William Dean Singleton as its CEO so he can focus on exploring possible combinations with other publishers while his successor tries to make more money on the Internet.

The CEO search announced Tuesday is part of a shake-up that includes the departure of Singleton’s top lieutenant, Joseph Lodovic IV, who is retiring as MediaNews’ president immediately.

The changes come a year after MediaNews’ parent company, Affiliated Media Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection. A reorganization plan approved 10 months ago wiped out most of the company’s debt in exchange for relinquishing ownership to dozens of lenders led by Bank of America Corp.

Singleton, who co-founded and became CEO of MediaNews in 1983, emerged from the reorganization with an 11 percent stake in the company and a keen interest in buying other troubled newspapers, which might create new market opportunities for his stable of dailies.

Read the rest at The Huffington Post

Hm. What an arc of a life. Starts out delivering newspapers and owns his first one at 21… then parlays that into a 40+% share in a major newspaper chain – right up till he over-reaches and blows his wad. After the dust settles he’s left with an 11% stake in the business he started. Now that’s real leadership… he led that company right off a cliff and took a lot of jobs with it.

However, he did manage to get out from under the falling meteor that is print-media newspapers trying to make it on the web. As usual, the purveyors of fine fishwrap ignored the web as long as they could because their target demographic didn’t use the web. Well, that target demographic is melting away like a Popsicle on a hot sidewalk. These days there are far better sources of online news that have much more credibility than any far-right-owned print newspaper, so their attempt to sidle onto the web and bring their readers along is like watching really awful ballet.

Now he’s going to “…focus on exploring possible combinations with other publishers…” – IE he’s going to look for failing small-town papers and promise them something (anything) to get them to join up with his newest syndicate. Something tells me this is going to present a bit more of a problem than he realizes.

“He believes newspapers will be available at steeply discounted prices because publishers’ revenue has plunged in the past four years amid a deep recession and intensifying competition for advertising dollars from the Internet.”

No shit Sherlock!

Anyone with eyes can see this trend:

Data from Newspaper Association of America

So you can see the dizzying climb that ad revenue had for nearly thirty years. Newspaper owners clearly thought they owned the country’s hearts and minds – and they did for quite a while.

Then came the Internet.

Newspaper owners probably couldn’t believe what they were hearing and just kept on pouring money into far-right pockets in hopes of not only controlling public opinion but the government itself.

After 2005 it became painfully obvious even to the ostrich-like fishwrap salesmen that their gravy train wasn’t just wrecking, it was going off a cliff bigtime. I can only imagine the screeching arguments around those elegant dining rooms when it became clear that little Suzie would not be getting a(nother) pony for Christmas.

So I wish Mr. Singleton great luck with his new ‘combinations’ – he’s going to need it.

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