Knight-Ridder Sold, But San Jose Mercury News Goes on the Block

So Knight-Ridder got sold, for a premium say some and for a steal say others. Since the San Jose Mercury News is a KR paper, the buyout on the surface appeared to be cause for celebration. Matt Marshall said “But we can confirm that many Knight Ridder employees are breathing a sigh of relief. McClatchy has an excellent reputation for quality journalism, and its headquarters in Sacramento and relative strength in central California means that KR’s Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and other papers in Contra Costa, Monterey and San Luis Obispo will help make the combined company a California powerhouse.”

Maybe so, Matt, but since McClatchy has announced they’re selling twelve papers including the Merc because they only go into “high growth markets” (Pruitt, McClatchy CEO, NYTimes), perhaps the staff should put the cork back into the champange bottle. The only one dancing with glee right now is the SF Chronicle.

More to the point, the analysis of the buyout forsees a lot of debt for McClatchy in a shrinking market. Newspapers aren’t the cash cows they once were, and Internet companies from Google to Craigslist continue to gut both their content and classified revenue. Is this a good buy, or is it a “good bye” for the Merc? One analyst I know here in Silicon Valley said “for what it’s worth, the journalists at that paper might want to polish up their resumes and start blogs ASAP”.

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