Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bankruptcy brings new owners, new business models

As the newspaper industry reels from bankruptcies among some of its most powerful players, a new class of investors have quietly stepped in, seeking to capitalize on rock-bottom stock prices.

Michael Oneal of the Chicago Tribune suggests that this isn't a takeover of the industry, but it will have an impact - the scope of which remains to be determined.

The natural tension for funds like Angelo Gordon, however, is that they don't have unlimited time to wait for their investments to bear fruit. Their compensation and fee structure is generally based on raising a fund, investing it to generate 20 to 30 percent annual returns and then monetizing those returns over a period of a few years.

That tension may have led to a parting of the ways between the firm and Brad Pattelli, who gained attention this year as the architect of Angelo Gordon's extensive newspaper investments. Neither Pattelli nor the firm would comment for this story. But John Johnson Jr., who runs a company called Foamex International Inc. and has sat on a number of boards for Angelo Gordon in the past, said Pattelli was interested in business-building in the media industry, not just trading in and out of distressed companies.

"Brad wants to move up and have more of a say in how companies are managed," said Johnson. "But funds have a time limit on them."

Despite their time constraints, many believe the hedge funds will be forced to remain patient if they want to reap what they've sown in newspapers. Johnson believes the funds may not have a firm exit strategy in mind, and it will take sure signs of a recovery to grease deals and provide liquidity. For that reason, Dunning thinks any real shuffling is probably months away as financial players continue to learn what's possible and wait for exit opportunities to present themselves.

Editor wanted

The Press-Telegram is on the lookout for an editor to replace John Futch, who leaves in August. JournalismJobs.com has the details.

The Press-Telegram, the newspaper of Long Beach (California) and surrounding areas, has a rare opening for an EDITOR for its award-winning newsroom. Our ideal candidate craves local news, thrives on deadline and relishes the challenge of converting a blank planning budget into a vibrant, reader-relevant daily report. Hands-on is a must as are solid organizational skills. So is a natural ability to communicate across functional departments -- from editors to sports to photo to online (and research, or advertising) -- and to coordinate with nine partner newspapers to reach more than 1.5 million readers in Southern California and a rapidly growing online/mobile market as well.

Direct reports must write for the web first, or perhaps mobile.The candidate should be unflappable, comfortable rallying a team, running day-to-day operations, launching the enterprise story, sports smart and know ins-and-outs of social media. We're looking for an exceptional planner and a gifted motivator, never shy about demanding accountability from among the staff. Someone who still passionately believes in newspapers, yet understands how to appeal to people whose lives are changing and a market that has seen dramatic changes in the past few years.You will identify and analyze new market readership opportunities and monitor trends that indicate the need for new strategies and initiatives. Show us that you're a natural leader, able to navigate an intense news day, concentrate on the reader first -- and still come out invigorated with a thousand ideas on how to make tomorrow's paper even better.

Candidates must have five years' editing/leadership experience. Interested? Send us a cover letter, a resume, three references and links to two deadline and one enterprise story within the last six months, describing how you were instrumental in making them come together. In Micro Soft Word format to: Publisher Linda Lindus at linda.lindus@presstelegram.com; Executive Editor Rich Archbold at rich.archbold@presstelegram.com.Open until filled.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

John Futch retires

John Futch, managing editor of the Press Telegram, told staffers that August would be his final month with the paper, in a meeting earlier today.

Futch, a stalwart newsroom fixture at the Press-Telegram for nearly three decades, probably does more to get each edition out the door than anyone in the building. His dedication and experience leave some incredibly large shoes to fill.

Management has not announced a replacement yet.

We have no further details at this time. If you have anything to share, please contact us at scmg9400@gmail.com