February 21, 2009

Former Bristol Press owner files for bankruptcy

To nobody's surprise, the former owner of The Bristol Press -- a Yardley, Penn. company whose name I won't repeat again -- has filed for bankruptcy.
The company still owns several Connecticut papers, including The New Haven Register, The Register-Citizen in Torrington, The West Hartford News and the The Middletown Press, along with Connecticut magazine.
Personally, I hope the courts force it to sell all of its remaining properties under judicial supervision so that it can't simply close them as it has done to scores of historic newspapers in the past several months.
The Bristol Press would have been among those shuttered save for a federal law that forced it to disclose plans to close the paper, the fuss that we created to save the paper and the miraculous appearance of Michael Schroeder just after the holidays to step in and buy us. He's already proving that competent, caring management would have made all the difference all along.
One thing I am sure about is that the now bankrupt company that ran the Press into the ground for 15 years should be tossed on the ash heap of history. There's no point in restructuring it. Let the evil, awful enterprise die.
Its only purpose now is to serve as an object lesson for business students in how not to run a company.

Update at 10:15, Saturday night -- The bankruptcy papers make me want to throw up. They make it painfully clear that "31 key employees" with the former owner raked in tens of thousands of dollars for making significan reductions in headcounts. They didn't give a damn about the papers they closed, the communities served, or the workers they tossed out of jobs.
It's absolutely revolting. They had no incentive at all to sell the papers so, of course, almost none were sold. This ought to be a crime. See this PDF for details
I'll have much more to say after I have time to read through all of these filings carefully.
Oh, hell, I'm talking about the Journal Register Co. If I don't mention it, nobody will see what I write about it when they're searching Google for every tidbit.

See Reflections of a Newsosaur's writeup today, which shows the JRC has closed 163 newspapers since the end of 2007. If nothing else, the company will go down in history as the biggest newspaper killer ever.
Paul Bass in The New Haven Independent lays out the details of bonuses for laying people off, a practice that seems so outrageous it ought to be against the law.
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Strange birthday present to you-know who.


These were people who boasted they knew more in their slimey offal-laden pinkies than journalists with decades of experience about how to run newspapers.
Unfortunately, most escaped with the loot, leaving hard-working people to scrounge for a few crumbs.
Amen

Anonymous said...

"slimey offal-laden pinkies" is sort of mean-spirited.

Steve Collins said...

Yes, it is. On the other hand, it's accurate.

Anonymous said...

sorry, that is about the nicest thing we could say about these people who now expect bonuses for firing more people.

Concerned Conservative said...

Since when do "journalists" know how to run anything? The people who own and run newspapers are businesmen who employ journalists to write stories (some like those at the NYT who stretch the truth). What exactly did the JRC do to the Bristol Press to make it lose money? Perhaps it was just the crappy journalism?

Steve Collins said...

What did the JRC do? It got rid of so many ad salespeople that it couldn't sell ads. It got rid of delivery people so it couldn't get the paper delivered. It got rid of business people so it couldn't get the bills straight. It got rid of most of its journalists so it couldn't get much of the news.
The proof,in this case, is in the pudding. The whole company bombed out because it was run by pinheads who looted community papers for their own profit.
They were crooks in my book.
And, CC, if you think it's all such crappy journalism, please stop reading it. I've never known anyone who spent so much time reading things he purports to hate.

Jennifer said...

The people who own and run newspapers are businesmen who employ journalists to write stories

And look how fabulously that worked out! Nothing says "successful businessman" like a bankruptcy filing, eh?

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have an improved community paper now that JRC is no longer doing (allegedly) all those nasty things. I haven't seen much change though.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...
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Anonymous said...

More bombastic b.s. from "Concerned Conservative", I see. Steve, please do us all a favor and stop running this clown's moronic ramblings; he adds nothing of substance to the conversation except his hate-filled, sanctimonious bile.

Anonymous said...

To bad, so sad

Steve Collins said...

6:25 -- There hasn't been much change yet. The new owner is struggling to get us health care, find new offices, arrange for printing, overhauling the delivery mess, reaching out to advertisers and so much more. The changes we'd all like to see -- especially more local news -- are going to come, but making sure there are ads and that papers are printed and delivered has to come first.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...
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Anonymous said...

little tip for yah steve........

The Step Saver Publications have decided to discontinue the Cheshire, Farmington and New Britain Editions. These additions will end on 2/27/08.

They will continue to publish in Bristol, Plainville and Southington.

(the original Step Saver editions from its beginnings)

Ed McKeon said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the bonus payments for firing folks and closing papers. WTF.

As for trust in business leaders? May I point out the economy to "concerned conservative." Business leadership at its finest, my friend.

Jennifer said...

More bombastic b.s. from "Concerned Conservative", I see. Steve, please do us all a favor and stop running this clown's moronic ramblings; he adds nothing of substance to the conversation except his hate-filled, sanctimonious bile.

I respectfully disagree. Anyone who trumpets the business acumen of newspaper companies over journalists on a journalist's thread about the umpteenth newspaper company to file bankruptcy this year is a sacred gift from the Comedy Gods.

Concerned Conservative said...

Yes aren't these economic problems we're having just a true socialist's dream come true!?! You can all get together, join hands and sing the praises of Stalin, Castro and Che' all other the other great economic geniuses like Keynes (the one who kept the Depression rolling) and Karl Marx.

Sorry I'll still take the business advice and leadership from an MBA or someone with business leadership experience over a reporter or a liberal columnist any day.

Liberal rags like the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Hartford Courant as well as the Press are doing poorly, while more center-right papers owned by NewsCorp are doing well. Hmmmm, maybe it's the content not the sales budget?

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say, CC, but there are few of us left who aren't looking forward to the socialist regime. It's been many, many years since I read Animal Farm, but I think it was something like this.