By Bruce B. Brugmann
To: Dean Singleton, vice-chairman and CEO of the MediaNews Group in Denver, immediate past chairman of the board of directors of the Newspaper Association of America, chairman of the board of directors of the Associated Press, and publisher of a flood of newspapers in California and elsewhere
To: Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst who once claimed that, despite everything, the Chronicle would be aggressively competitive with the San Jose Mercury News and other Singleton papers in the Bay Area
To: all other editors and publishers of the big chain publishers who are collaborating in secret to kill competition and monopolize the newspaper market in the Bay Area and much of California (MediaNews Group/Singleton, Hearst, Gannett, Stephens)
Repeating my blog question of yesterday: Will you run the piece by Phil Trounstine, former political reporter for the San Jose Mercury News,
and comments from John McManus, director of Grade the News.org, a Bay Area consumer report on news quality.
(Grade the News posted the Trounstine piece on its website on Monday April l6 and I posted it yesterday on the Bruce blog.)Next question: If you won't run Trounstine or McManus, will you run a comparable analysis and commentary from comparable experts or any of your unions or staff members in any of your chain papers? If not, why not?
I asked Trounstine if he had had any response to his piece, which was posted on the Romenesko newsletter yesterday and on many other sites. "As of today, I have received very positive feed/back from some reporters and editors inside both Hearst and MediaNews outlets and from several news media watchers around the Bay Area and some other parts of the country. But I've heard nothing from any official at Hearst or any MediaNews outlet, although they are likely aware of the piece since it was linked to (at least) Editor and Publisher, Romenesko and Rough and Tumble."
I also asked McManus if he had any comment. "The codes of ethics of journalism demand that journalists cover the exercize of power in a community, explicitly including the exercise of their own enormous power over what becomes part of the public consciousness and what does not. I'm very disappointed at how little coverage and initiative the Chronicle and MediaNews papers in the Bay Area have shown in the important issue of newspaper consolidation here.
"You can bet that if one company owned all of the grocery stores in the region, or there was a secret agreement between Costco and Safeway to cooperate rather than compete, news coverage would be intense. Media monopoly has even greater implications because news has the unique power to define reality, especially when one company owns almost every daily in the Bay Area."
Looks to me like front page stuff for any legitimate competitive newspaper! Or at least good op eds! Dean? Phil? Anybody else at any Hearst, Singleton, Gannett, or Stephens papers? B3
For more on Singleton check G.W. Schulz on the politics blog Newspaper execs pose uncomfortably for camera.