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July 15, 2011


Journal Star owner tries to avoid bankruptcy

by Deena Winter

Bloomberg News has the story about how the Iowa company that owns the Lincoln Journal Star and 52 other newspapers is trying to avoid bankruptcy by haggling with lenders to restructure $1 billion in debt. Moody’s is saying it’s critical that Lee refinance.
According to Bloomberg, Lee’s advertising revenue fell 9 percent last year.
The company is also in danger of losing its listing on the New York Stock Exchange after its average share price fell below the $1 minimum threshold for 30 days.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jessica
    Jul 15 2011

    Gosh, this is so deja vu! Hasn’t Lee already restructured once and already spent long periods under that $1 threshold?

    What do you think that could mean for local newspapers?

  2. Erik
    Jul 15 2011

    Who actually reads newspapers? seems like a waste of time to have a newspaper when you can easily check it online any time and get updates right away.

    • ej
      Jul 19 2011

      I, for one, read my newspaper everyday. I check it online, too.

  3. Jeff Poley
    Jul 16 2011


    I often wonder how it is that all of us think that we’re entitled to get accurate and complete information about what’s going on around us without paying for it. I’m hoping that the New York Times model of charging a monthly fee for access to most of it’s on-line information will work out. It would be nice to know that real journalists are being paid to get the news rather than simply propagandize for the highest bidder.


  4. AB
    Jul 18 2011

    If you do not provide a valuable product, people will not want to purchase it. The Journal Star at least, I do not know their other papers, provides little truly valuable information or reporting.

    Certainly, Deena, when you were there, I felt like there was reporting being done on the Arena and complimented you then, and you made sure the newspaper was living up to its civic function. But when most days the Local section seems like a listing of America’s Dumbest Criminals, the front page barely has any unique or valuable reporting on city news, and most of the impassioned writing is Ouija Board prognostications about a college football team, then does this newspaper deserve to stay in business?

    If this city, and ones with similar fishwraps owned by this company, are rejecting what is being offered, causing the company to go down the drain, maybe it just isn’t “the internet is destroying the newspaper” but the fact the newspaper isn’t serving the community’s needs anymore.

    If the Journal Star collapses, a new paper – be it paper, internet or semaphore – will rise from the ashes. For example, Deena you are not the only reporter who has started blogging. While it most likely does not pay the same for you yet, suppose there was a collection of Nebraska reporter’s blogs, collected into one location – and contributors shared the revenue from traffic and ads?

    A business model of neo-Huffington post where content providers were true profit participants versus being treated like serfs? (See AOL deal.) A group tied all together with enough readers would be considered a viable journalistic entity and could get press passes and access to lawmakers and the likes because of the amount of readers. And would serve the community’s needs better.

    So if the Journal Star goes out of business, maybe it is what it deserved, because it is not serving us well.

  5. m.o.
    Jul 19 2011

    Hey, AB, you must not read the paper. In the last week alone, the LJS had two exclusive stories about city government that no other source had: The fact that the arena JPA was going to essentially fire SAIC and the $1.7 million settlement with Verizon over occupation taxes.

    • ej
      Jul 19 2011

      Two in seven is good? Maybe in baseball.


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