Star Search: Beauty & the Beast, New Star Publisher Faces Awful Earnings Music

In a perfect world I wouldn’t be writing what I’m about to write…

I’d be recuperating from hanging out until 3 a.m. in the Power & Light District, taking the measure of those pesky African-American flash mobs that threaten the struggling downtown entertainment Mecca.

Then, depending on my findings, I’d likely face a quandry.

Should I hold the story for my Wednesday print column? Or unleash it on the Star blog I was poised to set up on KansasCityCom. In other words, should the news come first online, or should the people who pay the bills – print subscribers – get first crack at it.

Therein lies a key dilemma facing the newspaper and print industries of yesteryear.

They can’t come close to replacing past profits in print while print readership is dying and/or wandering off. And now they’re forced to cut their own financial throats by breaking more and more news online to remain competitive.

Sending a clear message to all but the most clued out newspaper subscribers that they’re paying through the teeth to get sloppy journalistic seconds.

Add to that mix a sour economy that won’t quit and you have what amounts to a modern day boat ride on the Titanic.

Leaving beleaguered news staffers with little choice other than to huddle on the deck every three months – following each fiscal quarter – and await the inevitable. More bad news, more layoffs and more cutbacks.

Which brings us to the Star‘s parent company McClatchy, its gawdawful 2nd quarter earnings and its spanking new Star publisher, the lovely, the likeable and reportedly quite bright Mi-Ai Parrish…

Scarcely a month into her reign, Parish is faced with the grim reality of needing to make difficult cuts. That after McClatchy got hammered with earnings declines of 32 percent in advertising and circulation.

"Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered McClatchy’s credit ratings further into junk territory in May, saying ad revenue declines are increasing, outweighing the company’s cost-cutting efforts," the Wall Street Journal reports. " Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service raised the company’s outlook to positive after it sold 14 acres and the building that houses the Miami Herald for $236 million in May"

Meanwhile, McClatchy has yet to unload the Star‘s magnificent, $250 million, downtown print pleasure dome. It stands as a haunting monument to bad timing and the future uncertainty of the print news industry. A world where fringe players like Borders Books and Barnes & Noble are fighting losing battles to market physical reading materials to the general public.

There is some small hope…

With the strong possibility that cuts will be announced as early as Monday, sources say odds are the Star will unfurl another round of furloughs. Mandatory, unpaid vacations staffers must take between now and year’s end.

As opposed to another broad lopping off of heads.

Those would be far kinder cuts. Shared suffering versus lottery-style plank walking. Which would allow Parrish to ease into her new role as Captain of the local news Titanic.

May the force be with her…
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7 Responses to Star Search: Beauty & the Beast, New Star Publisher Faces Awful Earnings Music

  1. chuck says:

    If you hold your hand over her eyes
    She looks like Chris Kattan.

    Kattan does a pretty good Bill Gates, maybe she will convince them that the internet is great, and everything will be ok.

  2. smartman says:

    Mamma Mi-Ai
    Other than some flattering publicity photos, wide open collar, offering just the slightest glimpse of her (I’m assuming) perfect breasts, just enough to arouse me, Mi-Ai has done nothing to improve the Star.

    By now I would have expected at least one Zieman-esque manifesto from her giving us her POV and plans for restoration of the character, integrity and revenues of the paper of record.

    Nyet, nada, zip, zero.

    With Penn defrocked and Noble leaving his four bagger apology behind to head to Des Moines they’ve got some room under the cap for some free agents.

    It would be sad to think that she’s just a placeholder who we will remember as the smokin’ token.

  3. chuck says:

    I do like the idea of the Star Wars cast
    working for the KC Star.

    MI-AI PARRISH: “Ok you guys, I need ya undercover for a report on the dress code at the P&L.”

    PRINCESS LEIA: “Metal bikini, here I come!!”

    HAN SOLO: “Are you fuckin shittin me? Your 65 years old, even Jabba has blocked your number!”

    LUKE SKYWALKER: “I can’t go, I gotta find some guy named Carl Peterson.”

    MI-AI PARRISH: “But Luke, we may need the force.”

    LUKE SKYWALKER: “I’ll text ya Louie Wright’s phone number.”

    HAN SOLO: “We can’t go dressed like this, we look like Bedouin refugees.”

    MI-AI PARRISH: “Yeah, but that way they can’t see that your pants are down around your knees.”

    PRINCESS LEIA: “Now its a party!!”

    HAN SOLO: “Goddman you need to get laid.”

    MI-AI PARRISH: *whispers into Princess Leia’s ear* “I’ll get a hold of Fannin, its noon, he’s drunk on his ass by now,”

    PRINCESS LEIA: “After work, its straight to the Jones Pool!”

    HAN SOLO: “I gotta warn Glaze.”

  4. chuck says:

    Tuff crowd.

  5. Hearne Christopher says:

    I say give her some time. I’m hearing very good things about her internally.

    They say the new broom sweeps clean, but I think taking the time to get to know the staff, the town, the overall news landscape, etc. before sweeping changes are enacted is the smart way to go about things.

    And who says sweeping changes are needed? There’s only so much one can do given the circumstances. Like smartman, I do see plenty of room for improvement. But it took daily newspapers like the Star decades to get themselves where they now find themselves mired.

    Finding a remedy overnight is highly unlikely

  6. Hearne says:

    I will add this….
    The Star’s in the middle of a pay period and normally when they do cuts, they di it at the start of the pay period.

    With furloughs, who knows?

    But maybe the jawboning we’ve been engaging in – combined with common sense and restraint – will result the the paper getting a pass for a couple months.

    Unlike the past three years, there are like ZERO rumors about layoffs now. So we’ll see.

    Tough proposition

  7. dogbreath says:

    more great non-reporting from hearne, who wonders why he got fired

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