Newsonomics: The Washington Post’s ambitions for Arc have grown — to a Bezosian scale

In the blink of a digital era, The Washington Post’s Arc publishing platform has sprinted from an experiment to a full-on strategic business. Arc is now used by more than 30 clients operating more than 100 sites on four continents. It’s not the industry standard, but it’s not too early to call it an industry standard. But its ambitions are still nowhere near met. Now the Post is moving Arc into a new phase, talking of a connective effect that could impact the face of the business formerly known as “newspapering.” Arc wants to be more than a technology stack — it wants to be a network. “Arc is reaching a critical mass of most of the advertising markets in the United States, the major markets,” Shailesh Prakash, chief product and information officer for the Post, told me recently, listing off cities where it has customers — New
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Newsonomics: Could a McClatchy-Tronc merger help local newspapers transition to digital?

Could McClatchy unexpectedly join Gannett and GateHouse as survivors in the game of the American daily newspaper consolidation? Could California become a new epicenter of the American local newspaper business? Could Patrick Soon-Shiong have found a bigger lab to test his theories of AI-enhanced journalism? As we learned over the weekend, the newspaper chain Tronc may be entertaining multiple suitors — or might just be trying to juice a lukewarm market. As the Chicago Tribune revealed late Friday, McClatchy had emerged as an unlikely dark horse in the bidding. That emergence opens up an array of fascinating scenarios for the fast-paced consolidation of daily newspapering amid its continued business downturn. With the help of a number of confidential sources in and around the potential transactions, let’s explore them. (McClatchy, Tronc, and the Los Angeles Times each declined comment for this story.) First, consider Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire and new Continue reading "Newsonomics: Could a McClatchy-Tronc merger help local newspapers transition to digital?"

Newsonomics: The tariffs are gone, but the burden of print weighs heavier and heavier

The newspaper tariffs are dead. How big a difference will that make to those whose businesses still depends on dead trees? On Wednesday, the International Trade Commission —like numerous judicial or regulatory bodies before it in the Trump era — reversed the tariffs that the Commerce Department had placed on Canadian newsprint. The unanimous 5-0 decision surprised many, even though the ill-considered tariffs were silly, ignoring the actual way the newsprint trade has long been structured. The whole effort symbolized the times: a private equity company, recently buying into an established industry, looking for a quick buck, and using the politicized trade environment to do it. Even as the tariffs go away, it’s essential to understand that they represent only a small part of the problem that daily newspaper publishers now face. Though that black swan of tariff doom has flown away — an appeal of the decision by NORPAC,
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Newsonomics: It looks like Tronc is about to be chopped up and sold for parts

While it still requires some deal jiu-jitsu, Tronc looks to be on the brink of being broken up. Will Wyatt’s new Donerail Group, several confidential sources tell me, has now gotten the financing in place to do a deal to buy Tronc. Donerail would purchase Tronc’s 10 daily newspaper properties, take the company private, and then most likely sell the papers off to individual buyers — some of whom it already has lined up. Tronc’s been in play, quietly, for much of the year, but several pieces of the deal puzzle have only just fallen into place. (Donerail’s interest was first reported in early August by Reuters.) But it’s now become clear, through multiple insider accounts, how such a deal may work. A completed deal would likely come in as a $640 million to $700 million transaction. That would value Tronc shares somewhere above the $18 Continue reading "Newsonomics: It looks like Tronc is about to be chopped up and sold for parts"

The Center Folds

Socialism is having a moment in the sunlight — that is, on daytime television. Yet at the same time that the left earns a closer look from political pundits, Democrats and Republicans still fail to understand each other with nuance. Plus, after newspaper layoffs and a White House lockout this week, we assess the press’s appetite for solidarity. 
  1. Nathan Robinson [@NathanJRobinson], editor-in-chief at Current Affairs, on socialism's renewed place in mainstream political discourse. Listen.
  2. Perry Bacon Jr. [@perrybaconjr], political writer at FiveThirtyEight, on the misconceptions Democrats and Republicans have about each otherListen.

  3. Pete Vernon [@byPeteVernon], writer at the Columbia Journalism Review, on the White House's decision this week to bar a CNN reporter from a press event. Listen.

4. Chelsia Rose Marcius [@chelsiamarchius], former staff reporter at the New York Daily News, Tom Laforgia [@thomaslaforgia], former Continue reading "The Center Folds"

New York Sportscaster Michael Kay Goes on an Epic Rant Against Tronc For Daily News Layoffs: ‘Money Hungry Slobs’

In what was truly a dark day for New York City, Tronc — owners of the New York Daily News — destroyed their own property on Monday by laying off half of the News staff. Sportscaster Michael Kay — best known as the lead announcer on the New York Yankees TV broadcasts — spent approximately three years writing for the Daily News. And as an outraged alum, he went on a furious rant against Tronc for destroying his former employer. “They completely ravaged the newspaper — which is a New York City Institution,” Kay said. “The history of this city has been chronicled by the New York Daily News.” He added, “Who would ever buy this paper!? Who would ever read this paper!?” Kay noted that the sports section of the
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