Sunday, September 07, 2008

What’s going on at McClatchy?

The McClatchy Company owns the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer.

The N&O’s news columns are great places to go for Obama-Biden talking points, but if you want to find out about the financially troubled McClatchy Company the place to go is McClatchy Watch.

Posts there yesterday included:

McClatchy about to reorganize? [CEO] Gary Pruitt resigns from 4 family trusts

Intrigue at McClatchy triggered by document filed Friday at 5:01 PM

Sacramento Bee: “Pruitt’s resignation from 4 family trusts doesn’t mean anything – it’s just good corporate governance”

Here in italics are “snips” from the posts’ comment threads with my responses in plain - - -

What has astonished me is the McClatchy clan's catatonia as Wonder Boy Pruitt took the company down. The bleeding of wealth is almost beyond comprehension.

Within the past 5 years McClatchy (stock symbol MNI) sold as high as the mid-70s.

In March 2006 when a series of biased and racially inflammatory N&O stories helped launch the Duke lacrosse witch hunt and enable the frame-up attempt of 3 obviously innocent Duke students, MNI sold in the mid-40s.

Friday, Sept. 5, 2008 the stock closed at $3.66.

Many of us are worried when it comes time to collect our severance it won't be there. It has gone from milking a dying cash cow to beating a dead horse.

A lot of McClatchy employees have that worry. Some also worry they may never be able to collect their pensions.

Will McClatchy set aside funds that assure it will meet its pension obligations?

I hope so.

Who wants to advertise in a cut and paste AP wire story paper when you can buy USA Today, even The weekly World News and National Enquirer are better than most of the McClatchy pulp.

I’ve been hearing that from many advertisers.

There’s also a question more and more advertisers are asking: Will anyone see my ad if it’s in the “A” or “B” sections?

Advertisers are catching on to the fact many newspaper readers scan the front page and then to straight go the Sports section, the comics, the crossword, and obits.

On salaries, I can find no MNI data on 2008 salary levels, but SEC filings show that in 2007, Bob Weil, Vice President, Operations got a $600,000, plus a 60 percent bonus, Frank Whittaker, Vice President, Operations, got 600,000 in salary plus a 60 percent bonus, Pat Talamantes, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, earned 500,000 and a 55% bonus, and Howard Weaver, Vice President, News got a $400,000 salary plus 50% bonus.

I know those 50, 55 and 60% bonuses sound pretty good.

But just imagine what they would've been if McClatchy wasn’t imploding and its stock price crashing.

Funny you should mention an "out in the contract". When we asked to see the contract before signing for the buyout they would not provide it to us. On the last day September 12, 2008 we work then we can see it but not before. We also will not receive our money for the buyout until we sign the contract. How much you want to bet that THERE IS SOMETHING in the contract that they will be allow to get out of it.

The commenter is voicing a complaint I’ve heard and read McClatchy employees make for some time now.

Is anyone surprised that a newspaper chain that’s always demanding other companies and government agencies release all their information, is holding back from its own employees their buyout contracts? And not telling their readers they’re doing that.

Keep checking in at McClatchy Watch. You’ll find news and commentary there you won't find in the N&O and I’ll bet every other McClatchy paper as well.

Hat tips: A number of readers, including journalists.


Anonymous said...

Karma. It's just great!! The dead-tree media are rapidly committing suicide in spite of all the offers of advice from principled people like JinC. That N&O chooses to continue on its path of self-destruction tells us they truly believe they and only they are in the know. If it weren't so damned funny, it'd be tragic!
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

McClatchy's management and biased reporters and editors have dug their own graves.

I won't be sorry to see them go.

Anonymous said...

Here's a possibility.
McClatchy preparing to go private?

Walter Abbott