Hearne: How Long Can Star Czar Keep Job With News Company in 6 Year Freefall?

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?

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7 Responses to Hearne: How Long Can Star Czar Keep Job With News Company in 6 Year Freefall?

  1. smartman says:

    Who Dat?
    That’s like asking a new captain to come on board the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. You bring ANYBODY new in and the expectation from Wall Street is that improvements will be made. The analysts will expect to see and hear about the PLAN to do that in short order.

    This is a turd stuffed with shit with some runny poo sprinkled on top.

    If there were any REAL TANGIBLE LONG TERM VALUE in the company there would be buyout offers coming forward with the stock at its’ past and current depressed price(s).

    The Fat Lady is getting in her limo and headed to the stadium.

  2. chuck says:

    Limo?
    Adele has Glaze’s Evora red lined with a steady bearing and decreasing range, Mark , Mark, Mark cross hairs, go for launch, green across the board ETA fuckin NOW, Don Meredith already left the building…., well you get it. It’s fuckin over.

    At the next stockholders meeting, they should just play the Hudson dialogue from “Aliens” when he gets the news, that there is no rescue for 17 days.

    Ripley: How long after we’re declared bankrupt can we expect a rescue?
    Hicks: [pause] Seventeen days.
    Hudson: Seventeen *days?* Hey man, I don’t wanna rain on your parade, but we’re not gonna last seventeen *hours!* Those internet bloggers things are gonna come in here just like they did before. And they’re gonna come in here…
    Ripley: Hudson!
    Hudson: …and they’re gonna come in here AND THEY’RE GONNA GET US!
    Ripley: Hudson! This little Pitch Publication survived longer than that with no weapons and no training.
    [to Nadia]
    Ripley: Right?
    [Nadia apes a salute]
    Hudson: Why don’t you put her in charge?
    Ripley: You better just start dealing with it, Hudson! Listen to me! Hudson, just deal with it, because we need you and I’m sick of your bullshit.

    Sorry, too much coffee, but that fuckin “Aliens” movie is one of the funniest fuckin flicks I have ever seen, thanks to Hudson.

  3. chuck says:

    Hudson for McClatchey CEO!!
    GARY PRUITT: Audience are growing, online revenues are growing…”

    HUDSON: “Hey, maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!”

  4. chuck says:

    IF the Kansas City Star was run by PVT. HUDSON
    PRUITT: “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.”

    HUDSON: “Well that’s great, that’s just fuckin’ great, man. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? We’re in some real pretty shit now man…”

  5. chuck says:

    HUDSON at the board meeting.
    PRUITT: “I am annouincing that our stock, 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 a long way from the $40 a share we, McClatchy paid for Knight-Ridder in 2006. It’s been a rough 5 year ride.”

    HUDSON: “That’s it man, game over man, game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?

    PRUITT: “Maybe we could build a fire, sing a couple of songs, huh? Why don’t we try that?”

  6. chuck says:

    Sorry Hearne.
    I make myself sick laughing at the stupidest shit.

    Can’t help it, I can just see Pvt. Hudson in those meetings and it is killin me. 🙂

  7. chuck says:

    I can’t stop…
    Just intersperse Hudson’s “Aliens” dialogue into the minutes of any McClatchey Board meeting.

    PRUITT: “McClatchy may not achieve its expense reduction targets or may do harm to its operations in attempting to achieve such targets.”

    HUDSON: “Oh, maaaaaan and I was getting short. Four more weeks and out, now I’m going to die on this rock. This ain’t fair man.”

    PRUITT: “McClatchy’s operations have been, and will likely continue to be, adversely affected by competition.”

    HUDSON: “Four more weeks, we’re doomed now.”

    PRUITT: “Including competition from internet publishing and advertising platforms; increases in the cost of newsprint; bankruptcies or financial strain of its major advertising customers.”

    HUDSON: “I don’t believe this, I don’t fucking *believe* this.”

    jesus i gotta stop, i am laughin myself sick…

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