McClatchy Co. chief executive Gary Pruitt (pictured) said today his company is “on track” with its plans to close on its Knight Ridder transaction by July 1, according to MarketWatch reporter Chris Reiter. McClatchy plans to complete its purchase Knight Ridder and then, at the same time, sell 12 of KR’s 32 papers including the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times. Still no word on who might buy those papers from McClatchy.

SF Press Club News

2 Comments

  1. Knight Ridder is More than Mercury News
    Posted on April 6, 2006 at 12:45:29 PM by Wildebeest

    All the talk about the ongoing sale of Knight Ridder’s flagship San
    Jose Mercury News overshadows other key newsmakers in the San
    Francisco Bay area.

    To be sure, the Mercury News, with its history of Pulitzer Prizes and
    circulation of roughly 270,000, casts a large shadow—one that has
    occluded much attention of other local newspapers.

    But there are several other Knight Ridder papers in the Bay Area
    including the Hills newspapers in the East Bay, and the Silicon Valley
    Community Newspapers in the South Bay.

    Although these smaller newspaper chains have been bundled together
    with the larger dailies—the Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times—
    McClatchy has said it doesn’t want to keep,such packaging overlooks
    key differences in how they gather and report the news. Whoever
    decides to buy the Knight Ridder cast-offs, such as Dean Singleton’s
    MediaNews group—which owns the Oakland Tribune, should pay close
    attention to these differences.

    With the Silicon Valley Community Newspapers and its geographic
    cousin, the San Jose Mercury News, for instance, other than being
    geographically close, they are very distinct.

    The Mercury News provides a high-tech, interactive form of journalism, complete with blogs and podcasts—coverage that focuses generally on big picture issues, or breaking local news . At the same time, SVCN has stuck with the low-tech basics of in-depth coverage of local communities and their city governments and schools.
    The Mercury News has dabbled in variations on this type of community journalism, particularly with its weekly guide series. The guides focused on news and events targeted to certain geographic areas
    in the South Bay. But their approach was scattershot and uneven. The
    reporter covering the communities of Sunnyvale and Cupertino, for
    instance, rarely attended city meetings and often re-wrote what came out earlier in SVCN. Eventually, the Mercury News conceded and its
    owner, Knight Ridder, bought SVNC instead.

    At the time of the transaction last fall, advertising synergy was the
    buzzword used to explain the deal. (And the cheaper, non-union labor
    at SVCN likely also played a role).
    However, strong local coverage—something the Mercury News had largely
    moved away from—helped drive SVCN’s success with local advertisers.

    In a sort of tacit endorsement of such local reporting, the Mercury News
    also began to run SVCN articles under the Knight Ridder name.
    The Contra Costa Times has done the same with the intensely local
    Hills newspapers in the East Bay.
    According to the numbers, this made sense. Independent audits of how
    readers got their local news showed SVCN’s papers, for instance,
    outpaced the Mercury News by margins of 70-80 percent.

    Whoever buys SVCN, the Mercury News and the others, those audit figures on readers
    are worth keeping in mind, as is investing in reporters and
    old-fashioned, local coverage-retro journalism at is were.

    Admittedly it is not flashy, particularly the low-tech Web sites.

    Even so, the smaller papers have dedicated followings in their
    respective communities.
    In part, this is because the papers provide a sort of forum for
    individuals to weigh in on local issues through letters to the editor
    and op/ed. columns. Additionally, the papers also help serve as an
    intermediary on issues and help watchdog city councils and school
    districts, subjects largely not covered by the bigger dailies.

    McClatchy has a strong reputation in both these areas, so those
    working at the smaller papers were optimistic they would be included
    in McClatchy’s purchase of Knight Ridder. But, packaged in with Bay
    Area’s bigger KR dailies, those small papers feel like they are being
    passed around like a party favor instead.

    Even as package, whoever decides to the Knight Ridder South Bay papers will hopefully value the differences etween the papers big and small, and value old-school, local coverage.

    Flashy it is not. But as local readers will tell you (and local advertisers), it is journalism that works.

  2. Knight Ridder is More than Mercury News
    Posted on April 6, 2006 at 12:45:29 PM by Wildebeest

    All the talk about the ongoing sale of Knight Ridder’s flagship San
    Jose Mercury News overshadows other key newsmakers in the San
    Francisco Bay area.

    To be sure, the Mercury News, with its history of Pulitzer Prizes and
    circulation of roughly 270,000, casts a large shadow—one that has
    occluded much attention of other local newspapers.

    But there are several other Knight Ridder papers in the Bay Area
    including the Hills newspapers in the East Bay, and the Silicon Valley
    Community Newspapers in the South Bay.

    Although these smaller newspaper chains have been bundled together
    with the larger dailies—the Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times—
    McClatchy has said it doesn’t want to keep,such packaging overlooks
    key differences in how they gather and report the news. Whoever
    decides to buy the Knight Ridder cast-offs, such as Dean Singleton’s
    MediaNews group—which owns the Oakland Tribune, should pay close
    attention to these differences.

    With the Silicon Valley Community Newspapers and its geographic
    cousin, the San Jose Mercury News, for instance, other than being
    geographically close, they are very distinct.

    The Mercury News provides a high-tech, interactive form of journalism, complete with blogs and podcasts—coverage that focuses generally on big picture issues, or breaking local news . At the same time, SVCN has stuck with the low-tech basics of in-depth coverage of local communities and their city governments and schools.
    The Mercury News has dabbled in variations on this type of community journalism, particularly with its weekly guide series. The guides focused on news and events targeted to certain geographic areas
    in the South Bay. But their approach was scattershot and uneven. The
    reporter covering the communities of Sunnyvale and Cupertino, for
    instance, rarely attended city meetings and often re-wrote what came out earlier in SVCN. Eventually, the Mercury News conceded and its
    owner, Knight Ridder, bought SVNC instead.

    At the time of the transaction last fall, advertising synergy was the
    buzzword used to explain the deal. (And the cheaper, non-union labor
    at SVCN likely also played a role).
    However, strong local coverage—something the Mercury News had largely
    moved away from—helped drive SVCN’s success with local advertisers.

    In a sort of tacit endorsement of such local reporting, the Mercury News
    also began to run SVCN articles under the Knight Ridder name.
    The Contra Costa Times has done the same with the intensely local
    Hills newspapers in the East Bay.
    According to the numbers, this made sense. Independent audits of how
    readers got their local news showed SVCN’s papers, for instance,
    outpaced the Mercury News by margins of 70-80 percent.

    Whoever buys SVCN, the Mercury News and the others, those audit figures on readers
    are worth keeping in mind, as is investing in reporters and
    old-fashioned, local coverage-retro journalism at is were.

    Admittedly it is not flashy, particularly the low-tech Web sites.

    Even so, the smaller papers have dedicated followings in their
    respective communities.
    In part, this is because the papers provide a sort of forum for
    individuals to weigh in on local issues through letters to the editor
    and op/ed. columns. Additionally, the papers also help serve as an
    intermediary on issues and help watchdog city councils and school
    districts, subjects largely not covered by the bigger dailies.

    McClatchy has a strong reputation in both these areas, so those
    working at the smaller papers were optimistic they would be included
    in McClatchy’s purchase of Knight Ridder. But, packaged in with Bay
    Area’s bigger KR dailies, those small papers feel like they are being
    passed around like a party favor instead.

    Even as package, whoever decides to the Knight Ridder South Bay papers will hopefully value the differences etween the papers big and small, and value old-school, local coverage.

    Flashy it is not. But as local readers will tell you (and local advertisers), it is journalism that works.

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