Thursday, January 22, 2009

Newspaper JOAs fading

The newspaper industry may not be dead, but joint operating agreements, designed to preserve two-newspaper towns, are failing.

"I think they're fading pretty fast," Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute.

What's happened in the past two weeks is proof of that.

On Dec. 4, E.W. Scripps put the Rocky Mountain News up for sale, with shutting down the paper a likely possibility. Scripps is in a 50-50 joint operating agreement with MediaNews Group, which publishes The Denver Post.

Since then, The Hearst Corp., a JOA partner with the Seattle Times, put the Seattle Post-Intelligencer up for sale.

And Gannett Co. announced it would close the Tucson Citizen unless it could find a buyer by March 21. Gannett is a 50-50 partner in Tucson with Lee Enterprises, which publishes the Arizona Daily Star.

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