Barons back off newspaper trial - Page 4

Barons back off! Settlement in newspaper trial blocks future Hearst-Singleton deals - and may lead to release of key documents
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The paper reported buyout offers to more than a third of its staff April 24.

But we have received a recent ominous sign of what's to come just as Reilly inked his settlement with Hearst and MediaNews.

In an election for board directors at the April 24 annual meeting of the New York Times Co., 42 percent of the shareholders withheld their votes to protest the company's stock structure, which keeps a controlling ownership stake in the hands of the Sulzberger family, the members of which have owned the Times for generations.

The Times - like the Washington Post - has staved off shareholder raids like the one that tanked Knight-Ridder by maintaining their own separate class of stock. The Sulzbergers have reiterated that the strategy enabled them to keep quality reporting at the paper's forefront and short-term obsessions with profit at bay.

"Mr. Sulzberger dismissed the calls to separate his two titles," a Times story on the meeting noted, "saying that holding both roles [of publisher and chairman] allows him to 'balance the financial and journalistic needs of this institution.'"

But Wall Street's war on newspapers, in the meantime, is likely not over.

"At the beginning of my case, I said that 25 years involvement in politics and government had taught me how important newspapers are to our democratic society," Reilly said at the press conference. "I hope this lawsuit in 2007 will guarantee competition among newspapers for another generation in our city and the Bay Area."

THE PAPER TRAIL
Several of the documents stemming from Clint Reilly's antitrust claim against Hearst, MediaNews and other business collaborators in the California Newspapers Partnership

THE UNFOLDING STORY
Major Guardian stories and editorials published since last spring following the recent major Bay Area newspaper transactions and Clint Reilly's resulting lawsuit

THE NEW-MEDIA SCOOP
Posts to the Politics Blog about the Clint Reilly suit

THE BRUCE BLOG ON MONOPOLY MEDIA
Keeping tabs on the Galloping Conglomerati via blog reports and impertinent questions

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