Will the newspaper barons back down?

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By Tim Redmond

The Chronicle today went to great effort to suggest that Clint Reilly didn't actually get the concessions he claimed at his press conference on the settlement of his lawsuit against the big newspaper publishers. We just called Reilly, and he's adamant: The publishers promised him free space in ther papers for a regular column on community issues.

Apparently that didn't sit well with some of the editors at the papers owned by Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group, and the publishers have been madly trying to back away. But Reilly says his attorney, Joe Alioto, has been in touch with the publishers, and he's expecting a formal joint statement later today in which the newspaper barons will retract their comments.

"And if they don't," Reilly told us, "we've just go forward and take this case to trial."