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SCOTT JAGOW: Anybody wanna buy a newspaper company? You’d think no, the newspaper business is a money pit these days, but check out how many people wanna buy the Tribune. Gannett has put in a bid for the whole company, including the Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, the Chicago Cubs. Hank Greenberg, former chairman of AIG insurance is reportedly interested. A couple of LA billionaires put in bids last week. So this morning we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out, why? Here’s Alisa Roth.
ALISA ROTH: Publicly-traded newspaper companies have been doing especially badly.
Philip Meyer teaches journalism at UNC Chapel Hill. He says it may be that being a slave to investors and quarterly earnings are precisely what’s killing off the business.
PHILIP MEYER: You can’t do the things a newspaper needs to have done in order to adjust to a world where information travels mostly by the Internet.
He says private owners will have the time and willingness to experiment with the medium. And to find a happy balance between print and the Internet.
Still, he says, he doesn’t expect to see a return to the old model of big profits.
MEYER: Well why would anybody want to own a local sports team? Usually it’s not for the money, it’s for the local prestige, it’s for the chance to do something good for the community. It’s a chance to be perceived as a civic leader, and it’s a lot of fun.
In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.