Not Much Hope For Survival of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As many of you probably know, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was involved in another ‘merger’. This time it’s most current owner group, Gannett (which also owned USA Today) merged with New Media Investment Group. And of course as is the nature of these mergers the new company will be sleeker and more efficient my reducing cost redundancies (i.e. employees), $300 – 400 million worth.

And Bruce Murphy over at UrbanMilwaukee reports on some of the earliest local casualties:

The departures at the Journal Sentinel include some big names, which were first reported at the Business Journal. They include columnist Jim Stingl, food editor and writer Nancy Stohs, business reporters Rick Romell and Paul Gores, general assignment reporter Jesse Garza, environmental reporter Lee Bergquist and night news editor Bob Friday.

full disclosure: Bob Friday is a personal friend.

So already, MJS is a leaner machine but a lean that will be readily apparent on the frontlines and the print edition of the paper almost immediately. Since the main news section is already down to 14 pages (and four of them are full page ads for hearing aids), I don’t know who’s left to write content for them.

There will be more cuts coming…but this isn’t the only reason I fear for the paper’s continued good health.

There’s this little cherry hidden in one of the articles about the merger:

Gannett’s current CEO, Bascobert, will retain that title as head of the new company’s operating subsidiary, also to be called Gannett. He has said he’s confident of hitting the savings target.

It’s crucial because, at an interest rate of 11.5%, the Apollo loan could become onerous if not paid off quickly, said Tim Hynes, head of North American research for debt analysis service Debtwire.

emphasis mine

11.5% interest…in an era of some of the lowest interest rates in my lifetime…when an average home buyer can get a 30 year mortgage at under 4%…these high flyer investors can’t do better?

I don’t hold out much hope for a company fighting the downward trend in advertising revenues and even faster declines in paid subscriptions that they will reduce costs to pay 11.5% usury without gutting their actual product to the range of uselessness.

My only thought is how much time do they have left?


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6 thoughts on “Not Much Hope For Survival of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  1. Expect to see the obituary for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on their greatly expanded obituary pages.

  2. The Journal publishing leadership and chief editorial staff doomed itself when they, caving to the MMAC and WMC, supported Walker and his GOP enablers who were bad for the city and bad for the state. And continued to support Walker until his mendacity became so aggregious, so obvious (FoxConn) that the good people of Wisconsin finally said, ‘enough’. Any hometown media that doesn’t investigate and fairly report the truth will lose the trust of its audience and eventually fail. As it should. The MJS cannot go away soon enough.

    1. That’s right. Scott Walker brought down the Journal Sentinel.

      Trump and Walker derangement syndrome is so all-encompassing, it amuses me to no end. BTW, the word you’re looking for, BB, is ‘egregious.’ Although I’m in favor of combining ‘aggressive’ and ‘egregious’ into a new word; I kinda like it. 🙂

      1. It goes further back than Walker the weasel, it goes back to when the MJS gave up all precedent of being a Milwaukee newspaper (longest socialist governed city in the US), and started being the mouth piece for “take no prisoners” capitalism (MMAC/WMC) and the racist policies of the Bradley Foundation (MKE, the most segregated city in the US). Milwaukee and SE Wisconsin was built by hard working, strong union members. Now thanks to likes of rampant capitalism and racist policies advanced by Walker and Wisconsin republicans we are stuck paying billions that everyone knew and now knows was a no good very bad deal(Foxconn).

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