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The News & Messenger Is For Sale

By Greg L | 13 March 2012 | Manassas City | 9 Comments

So says Peter Galuszka at Style Weekly, who lays out a deeply sobering picture of the financial woes of Media General.

Confronting loan deadlines, incrementally tougher terms and talk of bankruptcy, the company recently begged for a short-term bridge loan. Shortly afterward it formally announced that it’s putting all of its newspapers, including the Times-Dispatch, on the block.

That’s not much of a surprise, actually.  Particularly in the case of the News & Messenger, one has to wonder how such a badly-run outfit has managed to survive for as long as it has.

The local news market isn’t nearly as bad as Media General makes it look.  People are interested in what’s going on in their community, they want information about local government, public safety issues in their neighborhoods, and to follow what’s happening with the High School football team.  Advertisers want opportunities to target their marketing to local audiences.  Done right, a local news outfit should be quite successful, and there are plenty of operations out there proving that potential today.

The News & Messenger isn’t proving that at all.  There’s scant local news in it beyond press releases re-edited into depressingly unsubstantial articles, and fluffed with non-local content readers can find elsewhere in a more meaty package.  If this newspaper was food, it would be like Hamburger Helper with the hamburger removed as a cost-saving measure.

If Media General sells their Virginia newspaper operations in one block to some remote outfit like Halifax, I hope there will be an opportunity for some local folks to snap it up at fire-sale prices and reinvent this dinosaur.  It could be great, if lead by someone with actual vision and some bare modicum of passion.

H/T: Bearing Drift 

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  1. FrauD said on 13 Mar 2012 at 2:17 pm:
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    Combining all of the local papers into one gobbled up mess marked the end for this paper. Good ridance. I long for the return of a truly locally run paper, like the Journal Messenger of yesteryear. It will be interesting to see who does buy it, though.

  2. Badger said on 13 Mar 2012 at 3:34 pm:
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    I would really appreciate a real newspaper that does investigative journalism. There are a lot of stories in PWC waiting to be told.

  3. Chester said on 13 Mar 2012 at 4:33 pm:
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    Will the next newspaper be in English?

  4. Badger said on 13 Mar 2012 at 5:03 pm:
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    I hope for a totally on-line news outlet (the word newspaper just doesn’t fit).

  5. Cynic said on 13 Mar 2012 at 5:17 pm:
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    “Will the next newspaper be in English?”

    To answer that question would require the services of an investigative journalist.

  6. madmom said on 14 Mar 2012 at 10:17 pm:
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    No wonder, when you can see it free on the Internet. Have never understood that.

  7. Robert L. Duecaster said on 15 Mar 2012 at 10:14 am:
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    What’s the price?

  8. Paul Madden said on 15 Mar 2012 at 6:13 pm:
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    Yep, Badger (13 March), there’s a ton of stories waiting to be told; i.e. the latest
    criminal activities going on within the local Sheriff’s Office, firing of Chief Collier
    and other high rankers and talk of fraud, forgery, etc. News and Messenger has
    done an excellent job of trying to protect the reputation of Glenn Hill (just as the
    Wash Post does for Obama). Looks as though the turds are finally rising to the top
    and there’s no way to keep this stuff from the tax payers in PWC!! I say it’ll be
    good riddance to the News and Messenger!

  9. Chris in Va said on 27 Mar 2012 at 1:48 am:
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    Doesn’t Media General put out The Times-Dispatch? I’ve always found that to be a decent operation.

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