February 22, 2004

More on the Examiner

An Editor & Publisher story on the purchase of the San Francisco Examiner by tycoon Philip Anschutz goes deeper into the deal. Some notes from the story:

 The Examiner is only one of four free newspapers in the deal. The Independed, a several-day-a-week throwaway (total market) distributes 360,000 copies in San Francisco and neighboring San Mateo County. Scott McKibben, CEO of the Examiner's parent company, said the Independent is the "largest non-daily newspaper -- newspaper, not shopper or Pennysaver -- in the United States."

 Together, the Examiner and the Independent, while journalistic embarrassments, succeed financially where the Hearst-owned Chronicle cannot -- household penetration. Mckibben again: ""This is an opportunity to come into a really great market, the fifth-largest in the United States ... that has one newspaper, that, while it's a good newspaper, quite candidly (its) household penetrations are such that the advertisers cannot achieve the penetrations they need to achieve."

 The Fang family, which bamboozled Hearst into essentially giving it the newspaper -- plus a $66 million subsidy -- when Hearst wanted to buy the larger Chronicle and needed for antitrust reasons to divest the Examiner, took the money and ran. "The perception that I have of the Examiner is that (the Fangs) tried to suck all, I mean all, the profits out of it -- even worse than our usually rapacious newspaper companies," said J.T. "Tom" Johnson, a journalism professor at San Francisco State University.

 The Chronicle, long maligned, may deserve another look, said Johnson. "One of the great turnarounds in American journalism is what the Chronicle has done with its paper," he said. "Many, many days there are breaking stories that we were not used to seeing in the Chronicle before. They're doing a much better job than the average newspaper in America."

 Editor & Publisher New 'Examiner' Owners: Expect Seismic Shift in Bay Area

Posted by Tim Porter at February 22, 2004 10:39 AM