Friday, March 05, 2010

Is This The First Day Of The Rest Of Canada's Newspapers' Lives?



Because it's deadline day for bids on the CanWest Publishing Empire:

TODAY is the deadline for offers to purchase the assets of Canwest Limited Partnership, the Canwest unit that owns digital media and newspapers across the country, in a separate court-supervised process.

The Big Five Canadian banks, which are Canwest's senior secured lenders, have put in an initial bid of about $925 million to get the auction going. But they hope to get a higher offer of more than $1 billion so they can get their loans repaid.

Several bidders have emerged, including three Canadian media veterans, headlined by former Canadian senator Jerry Grafstein, who launched a bid in January for three papers -- the National Post, the Montreal Gazette and the Ottawa Citizen.

Under that offer, Canwest would have to find someone else to buy the rest of its newspaper operations, which include the Edmonton Journal, Victoria Times-Colonist and two Vancouver dailies, the Sun and Province.

Victoria, B.C.-based Black Press, the small-market newspaper chain headed by businessman David Black, is also reported to be in the running.

Another B.C. publishing outfit, community newspaper publisher Glacier Media Inc., is reported to be in the hunt for Canwest's smaller papers, as is a group led by National Post chief executive Paul Godfrey.

Personally, I hope that moguls like Mr David (notLord)Black don't win.


Because I think that the best thing that could happen to this country would be a piecemeal sell-off of the papers.

I mean - can you imagine if the Province and the VSun actually started competing with each other for stories in this town?

And if the Victoria Times-Colonist could really become truly independent.

Heckfire - I say get rid of the hyphen altogether and have both a Times and a Colonist to go after all those advertisers that Mr. NotConrad has stuffed into the middle pages of his suburban wasteland rags.

Please note: The wire copy-assisted piece pasted in above ran in the decidedly not CanWestian Winnipeg Free Press.....We promise to pay them back for taking the entire thing this one time, by buying real dead tree editions whenever possible.



The Mound of Sound said...

As a fellow left-coaster I can but dream of the day when we were all released from the bondage of blanket CanWest newspaper monopolies. Up and down this island CanWest controls the community papers and they utterly reek of their master's far right political bent.

I agree. Break them up, sell them piecemeal. Concentration of ownership (another fancy term for corporatization) and media cross-ownership (ditto) have transformed Canadian journalism into self-serving collaborators with the Right. That's the sort of disease that, eventually, spawns race-baiters and bigots like Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter. And it is, in every respect, a disease.

Anonymous said...

We have Black Press running our local paper. Tom Fletcher and his right side drivel is the feature. The editorials are pap. Don't really cover the news because they basically have 1 reporter. Never disagree with city council or the Lieberals.The worst thing that could happen is Black Press winning the bid.

RossK said...


I agree 100%. Unfortunately, those in the business can probably make a pretty good case for the 'economies of scale' side of the argument....And on that, I'd love to hear from somebody knowledgeable (Mr. W. maybe if it doesn't put him in conflict?)...

I think the best we could do, which would be a big step forward would be loophole-free legislation that prevents concentration across various media within defined geographical areas.


RossK said...


If I were a betting man I would, unfortunately, be forced to take pretty short odds on an East (ie. Gravstein) vs West split.

It looks like the latter is more competitive....but Mr. Black apparently has deep pocket backing from an equity fund from California that he is associated with through their recent purchase of a big daily in San Diego.

Besides the ideological/POV issue, which I agree is problematic, what concerns me most about the spectre of Mr. notConrad purchasing both the Province and the VSun is his penchant for contracting/fusing the properties he buys (and apparently he's doing this right now with with two dailies in Hawaii).


Anonymous said...

Glacier media ,hMMMMMMMMM rings a bell?

RossK said...


Good point....because if it's Glacier we just might be in for all Hollingerized Suburban Wastelands all the time.


And there is also that little matter that, unlike CanWest who only gave Mr. Campbell $50,000 during the 2005 election cycle, Glacier actually doubled down and gave him a nice, fat $100K in 2009.

Charlie Smith, in the GStraight, wrote a solid foreshadowing backgrounder on this back in August of 2009.



Norman Farrell said...

The small press lords have to pay the party in power. Those are rebates for placement of government advertising.

Editorial support is one thing but the party needs cash too. You wouldn't expect someone to contribute cash to the Liberals because they support the party out of principle, would you?

Ha, that was a trick question because Liberals don't have principles.

RossK said...

Excellent point Norman.

Will have to go dig up that video made early in last spring's election campaign wherein Charlie Smith nails Mr. Campbell on that very issue before an off-camera PABlumist jumps in to try and save him (and only makes it worse - ha!)


RossK said...

Found it.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RossK said...

Spam #143, above since the great Haloscreaming of the old comments....