When Cablevision's ruling Dolan family—famous for making reporters' lives hell as they try to cover the Dolan-owned New York Knicks—became the new owners of Newsday , every media reporter in the city simultaneously realized that they could write a funny story about how the asshole Dolans probably won't even speak to their own company's new reporters. And everyone obliged! The Observer wraps the story in a nice little bow, detailing how Newsday editors got "screamed at" for sending a reporter to the Dolans' house. And while the paper's top editors are now obliged to be nice to the Dolans, most of the reporters are pissed off or just sad, as their quotes show pretty plainly:
Having bought Newsday for $650 million, Cablevision executives, who pretty much suck at making money on anything that's not a cable system, are now interested in maybe having an actual newspaper company print, distribute and sell advertising into the tabloid. A printing deal with Post owner News Corp. or Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman would make eminent financial sense, since Newsday has an outdated printing plant and both the Daily News and Post stand to cut their own printing costs if they can sign up the Long Island newspaper as a customer. And cross-selling ads could drum up some extra revenue. But if Cablevision were to do a comprehensive deal covering pretty much all business-side operations, it would beg the question, why did Cablevision buy Newsday in the first place? Were the cross-selling opportunities between cable, internet and the newspaper really worth an $80 million premium over bids from News Corp. and Zuckerman? Prediction: Whichever media company ends up doing this deal with Cablevision, and one of them will, is going to end up owning the newspaper in a few years when Cablevision's high expectations are deflated. [Times]
Rupert Murdoch's secret, sneaky plan to destroy Long Island tabloid Newsday: let a dysfunctional company buy it for more money. Cablevision purchased the paper for $650 million and Murdoch withdrew his bid this weekend. Now, everyone is a bit confused. Because Cablevision owns many odd things, but none of them have been newspapers up til now. "The Newsday bid had the backing of both Charles Dolan, who founded the company, and his son James L. Dolan, the chief executive," the Times reports, even though generally the Dolans hate each other and disagree about everything. And according to witnesses of the meetings between the Dolans and former Newsday owner Sam Zell, the "tension between the two has been obvious." As have the tensions between Cablevision and its shareholders. Because Cablevision is a company that does one thing quite well and everything else quite poorly.
"News Corporation, the global media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, is withdrawing its bid to purchase Newsday. The withdrawal of the bid was first reported on the Web site of The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the News Corporation.The bid withdrawal appears to be a reversal from Wednesday, when in the News Corporation's earnings conference call Mr. Murdoch voiced skepticism that Cablevision could succeed in its bid for Newsday, even as he vowed not to get into a bidding war for the newspaper, which was at the center of a tussle among three New York moguls."
Ruthless press baron Rupert Murdoch has concocted two diabolical schemes to ruin the lives of New York tabloid readers and owners forever. First scheme: Murdoch will raise the price of his New York Post — NO! — to fifty cents, with the extra quarter going directly into a special fund for the eradication of all remaining integrity and decency in American media, starting with the Wall Street Journal, which Murdoch has not yet finished burning to the ground forever. Ha ha, just kidding, the extra quarter will just offset the Post's estimated $50 million per year losses, and you will pay it, because it's not like you can just read Page Six on the internet or something. Scheme the second: is classified. This is a secret scheme. But:
"Cablevision is preparing a $650 million offer for Newsday, $70 million more than bids by Rupert Murdoch and Mortimer B. Zuckerman... Executives... interested in Newsday said they learned over the last month that printing, trucking and subscription operations were more troubled and inefficient than they knew. Paradoxically, that has persuaded them that the paper was worth more... 'These are problems that can be fixed, so there's a lot of room for improvement,' one executive said." [Times]
Word emerged Tuesday on Rupert Murdoch's handshake deal to buy Newsday, and there was talk about Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman dropping out of the bidding for the Long Island tabloid. But the Times today said Zuckerman is expected to make a counteroffer next week, while Jared Kushner's Observer Media Group may submit a joint offer with Long Island television provider Cablevision, which had dropped out of the running. "People in both the News and Observer camps say they were shocked to learn of the handshake deal with Mr. Murdoch... because they had been assured by Tribune's bankers that they had until next week to submit offers," said the Times. Perhaps Tribune chief Sam Zell, who like Zuckerman is a real estate mogul come to media later in life, understands instinctively that Newsday is best off in the hands of Murdoch, the deep-pocketed lifelong media mogul. Here's how Lloyd Grove compared Zuckerman to Murdoch as he was leaving the former's employ as a gossip columnist in 2006:
Rupert Murdoch's 78th year has been busy. With the exit of the Wall Street Journal's native managing editor, Marcus Brauchli, the Australian media mogul's lieutenant now has a free hand to turn the business newspaper into a broader national title. We're hearing this afternoon that Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman has dropped out of the bidding for Newsday, clearing the way for Murdoch's News Corporation to take control of a third newspaper in the New York market. And the New York Post is this week shrinking to allow the News Corporation tabloid to be produced on the same presses as the Journal. But here's the question: why the rush? There are three main reasons: newspaper publishing economics; the broader synergies available to a media group with heightened political influence; and mortality.
What's there to say about Newsday? I don't know, I'm not from Long Island. People from Long Island are quite happy with all that beach access. But even with the ocean, writers from Newsday aren't so happy and have been hoping for a takeover, mostly because Sam Zell is an asshole, though occasionally a charming one. Anyway, because Sam Zell is so real , he finally admitted that he's trying to unload the paper. Memo from Newsday publisher Tim Knight via The Observer, after the jump.
Tribune Co owner Sam Zell is looking to unload Long Island tab Newsday, because Newsday is the saddest paper in his mostly sad stable. So far, rumors have flown that New York Post and Wall Street Journal owner Rupert Murdoch is interested, but the Journal reports today that junior real-estate magnate Jared Kushner "is among those who may be contemplating bids to buy or enter into a partnership with Newsday, according to a person familiar with the situation." Apparently owning the ailing Long Island tab would help keep down the costs of printing Kushner's first foray into vanity newspaper ownership, the New York Observer. [WSJ]
What a world: Rupert Murdoch has become the lesser of two evils. Newsday reporters are hoping that he will buy the Long Island tabloid from Sam Zell, the Tribune owner who is looking to unload it. Really? Despite his delightful sense of humor, since Zell took over the Tribune Co., the Newsday staff has dubbed their Melville headquarters "Hellville." Ha. "Hell" rhymes with "Mel." I've been to Melville, and it's just like every other suburban town: more of a purgatory than a hell. [NYO]
Word floating around Defamer HQ has Newsday movie editor Pat Wiedenkeller and veteran critics Jan Stuart and Gene Seymour accepting buyouts that would end their tenures at the Tribune-owned tabloid effective March 28. The critics reportedly accepted their packages by a deadline last Friday; Wiedenkeller has been on the way out since earlier this month. It's no golden handshake, either, with one source telling Defamer the buyout deals topped out around 33 weeks salary, a fraction of remaining vacation days and less than a year of benefits.
Sam Zell is the charismatic CEO of the Tribune Company. Charismatic in a way only journalists would appreciate, which means he's always cursing about something. It's amazing how a quick "fuck you" has kept his staff charmed. But after yesterday's Newsday cuts, Sam Zell's "Fuck Yous" are more than straight talk—he's really going to fuck his employees.
A Long Island correspondent reports that Newsday has stopped giving its reporters free newspapers, and that's rankling some of the reporters—especially those who live in the five boroughs, where they can't get home delivery. Sniff! Our tipster writes:
Editor and executive vice president of Long Island daily Newsday John Mancini sent his staff such a memo today. Is memo the right word? It's more like something between a cri de coeur and a call to arms. It's about how Newsday (it exists!) needs to be as "modern and forward thinking" as Long Island itself, and to that end, it needs to adapt to these new Internet times. It might even need to seek input from You! "Our world has been digitally re-mastered ... Now our task is to transform Newsday," John writes. He has clearly not yet learned rule one of mastering the internet: no earnestness allowed.
One can't let a Gawker guest editing spot pass one by without taking at least one gratuitous swipe at Newsday. If my new bosses around here would see fit to take any of my suggestions seriously, this would be a daily feature. Since it's not really relevant to "Manhattan media news and gossip," however - and since it's Long Fucking Island, after all — I doubt this will ever happen. Still and all, a regular strafing of Impulse!, Newsday's reader-driven entertainment feature, is something everyone should consider. For example, Glen Cove's Laura S. explains why "The Office" is her favorite TV show of 2006: