Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old Media Death Watch: Journal Register Co. Files for Bankruptcy

Expect this to be the first of many newspaper outfits to file this year. Of course we're anticipating the day when the New York Times files and asks for a government bailout. Heck, we might have to start a pool on what date that will be.
The Journal Register Co., owner of 20 daily newspapers, filed today for bankruptcy protection from its creditors. The Yardley-based company blamed a slump in advertising.

The company operates primarily in the Philadelphia and Cleveland areas, as well as throughout Michigan. Its newspapers include the Delaware County Times and the Trentonian near Philadelphia.

The company would cancel its stock and become a closely held company, owned by its lenders under a proposed reorganization plan filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. It listed debt of as much as $1 billion and assets of between $100 million and $500 million in Chapter 11 documents.

"With the increased competition from other forms of media and slumping advertising revenues, the downward pressure on newspaper earnings will likely remain intense in the near term," company chief executive officer James Hall said in court papers.

Since 2006, the company's revenue has dropped by more than 20 percent, Hall said.

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