Earlier this afternoon, they officially learned that they would be working (or perhaps not working) for new owner MediaNews, which apparently had run out of papers to ruin and felt like testing the government's stomach for antitrust cases. Soon, the paper CEO Dean Singleton called "the crown jewel" of Knight Ridder (hint: he wasn't talking about the Daily) will be another notch in the company's bedpost, right along with the Berkshire Eagle, the Oakland Tribune, the Fremont Argus, the Houston Post (R.I.P.) and the San Mateo County Times. After buying the Times, MediaNews the company forced all of the paper's editorial employees to resign, rehired only 75 percent of them and paid them at reduced salaries.
There was much celebrating at the Palo Alto Weekly offices today for breaking the story this morning, which again reminded me how little readers care anymore about who has a story first. I'm not saying I wouldn't have done it myself, but reporters' compulsion to pat themselves on the back for being the first to publish something is similar to all the hand-wringing over the sale of KR, in that we overestimate how much readers care about it.
As the Economist wrote about Katie Couric's jump to the CBS Evening News, in this week's feature story on the new participatory form of media:
Those in other countries, as well as Americans under 30, may be forgiven for thinking that a news story about a newscaster is just a spectacular bout of navel-gazing. Of course it is...
On the other hand, "Oooh, look at me, I read the Economist!"