Long time no Star stories; let’s play catch up on a big one…
And while it’s been pretty quiet in the local media rumor mill, chances are the Kansas City Star is in store for yet another round of layoffs and/or cutbacks now that the third quarter has shuddered to an end.
Insiders say it was a rough, tough summer and having played the furlough card following the newspaper’s second quarter results, chances are it may not be pretty.
Yet despite all his missteps and dismal financial results, the guy up top, McClatchy head Gary Pruitt is still large and in charge.
Meanwhile, back in KC at the Star, something kinda funny has been going down…
Star staffers have noticed that the layoff rumors that ran rampant prior to past cutbacks under the tenure of departed Star publisher Mark Zieman have mostly gone away Since Zieman split earlier this year, things have been pretty much Apple Computer quiet where layoff rumors are concerned.
Raising the question of who was behind those leaks and where have they gone?
Now on to reading what tea leaves remain…
Starting with a press release last week from Star parent McClatchy – the nation’s third largest newspaper company. McClatchy announced it will Webcast its 3rd quarter financial results on Oct. 21.
The announcement came the same day McClatchy’s stock broke a 52 week low trading at $1.13 a share. The stock had traded in the past year as high as $5.62. That’s still a long way from the $40 a share McClatchy paid for Knight-Ridder in 2006, so it’s been a rough 5 year ride.
McClatchy’s release included some interesting disclaimers, one of which is more than a little disturbing.
"McClatchy may not achieve its expense reduction targets or may do harm to its operations in attempting to achieve such targets; McClatchy’s operations have been, and will likely continue to be, adversely affected by competition, including competition from internet publishing and advertising platforms; increases in the cost of newsprint; bankruptcies or financial strain of its major advertising customers."
So much for whistling past the graveyard…
The $64 billion question: How much longer can McClatchy chieftain Gary Pruitt dodge the layoff bullet himself having piloted the company’s stock from a high of $63 in March 2005 to barely a buck?