Monday, April 30, 2007

Breaking: Times-Shamrock buys Hazleton Standard-Speaker

Citizens' Voice publisher and fourth generation member Scott Lynett will add the Speaker to his portfolio -- in other words, it's not worth it to give the paper its own publisher. Read the Times-Tribune's staff report for all the news. Newspaper history buffs will enjoy the timeline and backgrounder on the history of the S-S.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Terrific.

But don't they have a better picture of Lynett? He looks a little dorky in that one.

Anonymous said...

So is the Times Leader going to make a solid push to compete in Hazleton? They really should get a bureau back up and staffed. The Standard-Speaker is one of the worst newspapers I've ever seen and the people of Hazleton deserve better.

Anonymous said...

So do the people of Wilkes-Brre and Scranton. That goes for Connor and Lynett

Anonymous said...

The TL tried before to knock out the inferior Standard-Speaker and couldn't. This only tightens the noose around the TL and as SS will probably extend its circulation area north. The TL had its chance and it blew it. Contreras had a good idea and McHugh screwed it up(one of his many failures).

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the Lynetts buy up the TL too. Then they'll have what they seem to want: a monopoly on all of the newspapers. They can control all of the output and monitor everything. Somewhere else they tried that before... Hmmm... Oh, I know! Communist China! Happy reading Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it's time for a union at the TL.

Anonymous said...

It's funny. If Knight Ridder had managed to not implode, or if the dot-com economy had plugged along for another year or two, things could have turned out completely different. Give the TL another few years of putting on a full-court press in Hazleton, and the Walsers cry uncle and sell out to Knight Ridder -- a couple that could buy and sell the Lynetts 100 times over.

The same goes for the CV, which the Lynetts bought for the bargain-basement price of $5 million. What if the KR beancounters had OKd buying the Voice in 2000 or so for $10 million, which amounts to Tony Ridder's green fees for a year?

Don't get me wrong -- good for the Lynetts. They closed the deal. They couldn't be any worse than the Walsers, and they'll probably elevate the game at the S-S like they did at the Voice. They're good publishers. But for want of a nail....

Anonymous said...

6:16....

T-S was the high bidder from the TL, but possibly FCC intervention stopped McClatchy from selling to them.

Monopolies are just a way of life. NEPA better get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Peterson was the dimwit that rejected the Voice-TL deal. It made sense then and it certainly makes sense now. Too bad the TL (and McHugh) relied on idiots to do their thinking. With McHugh at the top of the heap. That man should never have been made publisher.

Anonymous said...

It was Tony Ridder who said no to the deal. Just ask Mark Contreras.

Anonymous said...

And speaking of idiots ... the Lynetts got this deal off on the wrong foot by promoting John Patton to GM. Patton is a stone-cold lazy horse's ass who spends more time on the golf course than he does in the office.
As for the rest ... the Standard-Speaker couldn't possibly get any worse, so the Lynetts' purchase is probably an improvement. Still, what a sad day for NE Pa. journalism, a term that is slowly becoming an oxymoron.
And speaking of morons ... the average IQ in the Standard-Speaker building just went up 50 points now that Stephen and Nicky Walser are gone.

Anonymous said...

"Decent, I must say."

Anonymous said...

What the fuck now we have to deal with the SS, feels like the fuckin totem pole here, we answer to the emerald castle them to the voice now to the SS. Sounds like Hitler is back in town. Down with journalism, kill them all!

Anonymous said...

12:23 a.m.: Please post drunk more often. It is funny.

Anonymous said...

To: 1:01 AM,

Trust me, I'm not drunk when I post. It's just the way I see things

From: Me

P.S. Can I sent you a gift card?

Anonymous said...

Any bets on how long it is until the Citizens Voice and Standard-Speaker disappear to be replaced by a regional Times-Tribune?

Anonymous said...

Vegas has the over-under at 10 months.

Anonymous said...

That's what I would do. Create a regional paper, cut jobs and make more profit. Christ, I told Duncan that's what the TL should have done almost 20 years ago until Walzer got mad at me for going over her head and the idea faded away. What an idiot she was.

Anonymous said...

Is that the John Patton who used to work at the CV?

Anonymous said...

Indeed it is one and the same.

Anonymous said...

Any bets on how long it is until the Citizens Voice and Standard-Speaker disappear to be replaced by a regional Times-Tribune?

I see it happening sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad we're trying to start new discussions here.

Anonymous said...

Any bets on how long it is until the Citizens Voice and Standard-Speaker disappear to be replaced by a regional Times-Tribune?

You guys are clueless. Each paper has it's own brand and identity in the community that they serve.

A regional paper makes them vulnerable to a start up paper iin any one of those cities. They want to get rid of the competition, not create opportunities for it. Don't be stupid.

Anonymous said...

Bingo. Someone with actual brains. You must not work in NEPA or be a member of the media. Journalists are so clueless to the business side. And they are so cynical. That's why they toil in Wilkes-Barre.

Anonymous said...

Toss in the large check TS just cut for increased color press capacity in WB, which would suggest the CV plans on sticking around.

Anonymous said...

A couple things about branding:
1) Hazletonians by and large hate the Standard-Speaker. Circulation has dropped about 20 percent in the past five years even as the core market population grew by the same amount. Even the Walsers agreed that "it's time" as they possess neither the competence nor financial resources to remain a viable brand there.
2) Even if the Speaker name stays the paper is history as far as its presentation and content. As any good business owners would do the Lynetts will look under every desk for duplicated services, perfunctory post-sale promises not withstanding.
3) If there is a merger or shared services with a Lynett publication it could just as easily come with the Pottsville paper. The Lynetts will be able to see quickly that there's no point in having two papers in its stable cover Schuylkill County, where the Speaker has two bureaus.

Speaker reporters should start polishing their resumes. While the Walser boys are playing golf and fishing on their boats, the Lynetts are going to be taking care of business.

Anonymous said...

They'd be smart to launch a spanish edition. hispanics are the only ones moving into town. And, as reported above, John Patton is an asshole.

John Mitchell said...

""""""You guys are clueless. Each paper has """it's""" own brand and identity in the community that they serve.

""""""A regional paper makes them vulnerable to a start up paper iin any one of those cities. They want to get rid of the competition, not create opportunities for it. Don't be stupid. """""""

Oh, so you're saying that a newspaper would never do anything to hurt or water down their product in the name of saving money????

Interesting theory.

Fact is, dozens of newspapers all over the country have gone regional, hurt their brand and made themselves vulnerable to start-ups because the bottom line demanded it.

If common sense ruled, no newspaper would ever slash content, gut their institutional knowledge and reduce feet-on-the-street just to meet some arbitrary number that comes down from The Main Office. And yet we see that every day.

Are the Lynetts better, smarter or tougher than the rest?

You tell me.

Anonymous said...

TS should buy that Spanish paper in Hazleton. It's growing as fast as the SS is shrinking.

Anonymous said...

Sorry John Mitchell, it appears you have no clue about TS.
It give it two years before TS starts downsizing staff at SS and CV. Circulation will continue to slowly decline for all newspapers and TS will be forced to staff Hazleton with two or three reporters and a photog. And that includes a sports reporter.
Look what they did for the Red Barons, now Yankees, Penguins and Penn State football. Duplication of services will ultimately decide slashing of jobs. It already has happened. Isn't Scotty Lynett co-publisher of SS?

Anonymous said...

TS city editors now have their choice from a combined budget, fed by the three daily papers. They pick and choose from the "news buffet" and slot the stories based on the locale of their editon. What will eventually happen is that the same 10 or 12 stories will appear in all the TS-owned dailies. Only their placement on the pages and the mastheads will differ.

Five years from now we will see:

-- Reporting and editing staff slashed at the Hazelton and Wilkes-Barre papers, which will become bureaus of the Scranton newsroom.

-- All editing and pagination done in Scranton.

-- One managing editor for all three editions.

-- Eventually, all the papers will be editions of The Times, maybe with a localized wrap.

The yield -- reduced newsroom costs and increased circulation numbers, resulting in higher ad rates. They simply can't stop subscriber bleed any other way.

Anonymous said...

7:45 is wrong. Not even close to being right.

Anonymous said...

7:45 is exactly correct. Look at the operations of the Allentown Morning Call. They have bureaus in the outskirts of Allentown. TS will do same with SS and CV. Cut newsroom jobs due to duplication of services, i.e. reporters,editors, and combined services in business, circulation and human resources. Read what Lynett said, TS considers Hazleton part of the Scranton/W-B market. No way are they going to keep that many empoloyees in one market.

Anonymous said...

6:18 is right on with the analogy to Allentown. The Morning Call gives everybody the same A section then zones the B section for its various bureaus - Lehighton, Bethlehem, Easton, Quakertown. Express-Times in Easton has done the same thing since it bought the Globe-Times in Bethlehem - it now has separate editions for Bethlehem, Easton and Jersey that basically zone out a handful of pages for local coverage.
It's a formula that makes a lot of sense for TS.

Anonymous said...

For all those who aren't sure which way the newspaper business in NEPA is heading, go to the Standard-Speaker's Web site. Half the stories there, literally, are written by CV staff writers.

Anonymous said...

"TS considers Hazleton part of the Scranton/W-B market."

They'll be making a huge strategic mistake if they take this to mean that the SS will become little more than a Hazleton-branch of the Scranton Times. You really can't overestimate just how provincial the Hazleton area is - 90% of the current SS subscribers wouldn't consider themselves part of the Scranton/W-B market and have little to no interest in greater-NEPA regional news. This may very well change in the long-term (especially if this cargo airport is a success) but for the time being, I'd have to believe that shifting the news focus from a community to regional perspective would be a terrible decision from TS's perspective.

Just some thoughts from an ex-Hazletonian.

Anonymous said...

11:42 is right to some extent, but you also have to remember that Hazleton-area residents have a long and storied history of eating shit when it's forced on them. It says here, also from a former Hazleton resident, that the area will take what it can get in light of the fact that it probably will be better than what they've got now.