Ah, the sweet smell of, uh, less debt. The Sun-Sentinel's parent Tribune Co. has sold Newsday to Cablevision for $650 million, money that will go to paying off the billions it owes in debt.
I have to say, Sam Zell made a good deal here. In New York's Dolan family, he found bigger suckers than himself. Or perhaps just bigger egos. That's the wild card in the newspaper biz. Publications often go for more than they're worth because some billionaire dreams of controlling several thousand barrels of ink each day.
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If I was a Sentinel employee-shareholder-owner, I'd be happy about this. You broke even on Newsday during a recession. Of course, at the same time, your company became less influential on a national scale. But that's no big deal. Media has been consolodating for a long time and now the trend, brought on by the horrid ecomony, is toward fragmentation. Ultimately, Tribune and McClatchy will likely be sold off for parts. It can be a good thing, I think.
On that note, a few worthy reads, if you missed them. First is Richard Pachter's review in the Miami Herald of Alec Foege's book, Right of the Dial: The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio. I link this mainly because the same guys that sank radio are now running the Tribune Co. But relax -- the newspaper industry has already fallen, so the damage will be limited this time.
Also, we have Sally Kestin's Sunday piece is called an investigative report, but it's more a feature with a very hard edge. It's also the kind of thing that will give the Sentinel loyal readers, as opposed to the Help Team's pandering BS.
Next is Peter Franceschina's story on a jewelry burglary. Ah great deadline work, beautiful craftsmanship done on the fly. When that muscle memory (or God's voice, whatever you want to call it) kicks in, the journalist enjoys his most thrilling moment.