Archive for the ‘Gannett’ Category

News Star Goes Psycho on “Economic Development”


The clown circus over at The (Monroe) News Star is in a full tizzy over the actions Tuesday night of the Monroe City Council, where they vetoed “economic development” money to a private business.

Our View: Council vote threatens economic development

This is the same crew of fools who have no interest whatsoever in uncovering the secret machinations of the I-20 Board, and their control over millions of dollars of taxpayer funds.

By their lights, if something is tagged “economic development,” the taxpayer’s money should be looted at will, with no oversight or questions asked.

Long time readers will recall that the News Star was leading the charge to dump hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into a phantom auto company several years ago, the infamous “V-Vehicle.” We covered the story here:

Archive for the ‘V-Vehicle Company’ Category

Shrinking Newspaper Lectures About Finances


Long-time Northeast Louisiana residents have no doubt noticed the emaciated condition of the area’s “premier” newspaper, The (Monroe) News-Star. Shrunken pages, decimated reporting staff, declining circulation – outward manifestations of financial problems.

Indeed, Gannett’s last quarter’s earnings showed a decline compared to the same time period last year.

Gannett 4Q profit down 12 pct on lower ad spending

But today, that “newspaper” sees fit to lecture people on how to handle money. See it here:

Our View: Enough, already!

We’ve often noted that the political endorsements of Gannett newspapers are usually good contrary indicators. In other words, whoever they endorse for office, make sure you vote for the other candidate.

Looks like the same can be said about their financial expertise.

More Dark Clouds for Gannett


Q4 earnings fell 12% on steep newspaper ad drop

Gannett said Tuesday morning that fourth-quarter profit fell 12% as both print and broadcast revenue declined on tough comparisons with the year-earlier quarter, when results were boosted by TV political advertising from the national elections as well as an extra week during Q4 2012.

Company-wide revenue fell 9.9% to $1.37 billion. The major culprit once more: newspaper advertising in the company’s largest division, which fell 10.3% to $590 million. That was the biggest quarterly ad revenue decline since the fourth quarter of 2009, when it plunged 17.9% to $791 million as the economy was leaving the Great Recession, according to regulatory documents.

Gannett to Shatter Apart?


From Gannett Blog

Wall Street hasn’t given up on pushing Corporate to spin off the flagging newspaper division, pressure that’s been building especially since the takeover of TV company Belo. Here’s one such exchange from this morning’s fourth-quarter earnings teleconference with stock analysts, according to Seeking Alpha’s transcript. As she has in the past, CEO Gracia Martore leaves herself plenty of wiggle room.

James Goss of Barrington Research: Why doesn’t Gannett split up the company like everybody else is doing?

Martore: I think the most important thing that the Gannett can do right at this moment is to achieve all of the great synergies and all of the great things we believe we’re going to achieve and we’ve set out that we’re going to achieve from our combined Broadcasting group, not only for 2014 but to set the stage for all of that to occur over the next three years. So that has a lot of our time, focus and energy right now.

But at the same time, I will tell you that the board of directors and I are continuously evaluating, as you would expect, everything — a lot of different ways for us to have consistent increases in shareholder value. We evaluate everything from capital allocation decisions to the appropriate structure for our businesses and our company and everything in between.

But I think, Jim, right at this moment in time, just literally having completed the Belo acquisition, in the short term our time, energy and focus is to create the substantial — substantially more shareholder value we believe we’re going to achieve with the successful and I believe overly successful achievement of everything we promised around the Belo transaction.

It can’t come fast enough. The quicker The (Monroe) News-Star and its “leadership” crew is put out of business, the better it is for the North Louisiana body politic.

Gannett Louisiana Dailies to Die?


According to Gannett Blog, the foremost independent source of all things Gannett, individual dailies may go away in favor of a single regional newspaper that would serve in their stead.

Louisiana | Memo hints at creating regional dailies


This morning, the president of the five-newspaper Louisiana group offered the latest sign Corporate may be leaning toward creating single regional newspapers in place of individual ones serving specific markets.

In a memo, Judi Terzotis announced she’d hired Cindy McCurry-Ross from Corporate’s News Department for the new position of regional editor.

“Cindy will work directly with the editors at each site to strengthen the news operations in the individual markets as well as build out a regional news network for the state,” Terzotis wrote. (Full memo text, below.)

Costs should be substantially lower in a regional approach, where current newsrooms could be treated more like slimmed-down community-based news bureaus with fewer layers of highly paid editors and executive editors.

Fewer reporters, too. For example, a reporter could be encouraged to write back-to-school features that touch on all five Louisiana markets rather than just one. Overnight, one reporter is doing the work of five. Bye-bye, four features writers.

News Star Becomes a Parody of Itself


We suppose it was a matter of time before The (Monroe) News Star – long suffering from the effects of a declining circulation within a dying industry – made a mockery of itself and became irrelevant.

That time has come with today’s editorial demanding that a legitimate election be overturned and three members of the Monroe City Council be recalled.

Our View: Time for a recall

Back before our reporting last spring on the controversial I-20 board, The News Star knew little about the entity. We can’t recall them ever covering board meetings, let alone investigating reports of FBI inquiries into its activities.

Now they’re experts on how it should be run, and who should be appointed to its membership.

Ever since the Gannett octopus bought the Monroe Morning World and the afternoon News-Star from the Robert Ewing family in 1977, you could see the decline.

Gannett, long known as a company concerned only about how much advertising revenue its entities could collect and send in to its Crystal Palace headquarters in Arlington, VA, set about reducing news coverage, and squeezing out anyone who dared challenge its liberal tax-and-spend orthodoxy.

To be fair, occasionally there have been some good reporters at the News Star who try to accurately report what occurs in Northeast Louisiana. We’ve had occasion to work beside some of them for the past 4 1/2 years. But they don’t stay, moving on to greener pastures, or giving up trying to fight the company’s evil culture and indifferent management.

The paper will continue to publish for a while before succumbing to the inevitable end of the concept of ink-on-paper news reporting hand delivered to individual addresses.

But folks won’t pay much attention to what is written on its pages.

Nor should they.

News Star Sells City of Monroe $25 Thousand in Ads for 2012


The (Monroe, LA) News Star, the local Gannett Company, Inc. newspaper, was paid nearly $25 thousand in 2012 for legal ads by the City of Monroe, according to documents obtained by Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO). The News Star is the “official journal” for the city.

See here the 2012 payment vouchers.

All local governments in Louisiana are require by state law to select an “official journal” – LA RS 43:141.

Long-time readers of LPNO are familiar with our dim view of that practice. We have suggested that it is little more than government welfare for newspapers, and that governments might use such an economic relationship as a way to curry favorable editorial and news coverage. In other words, give us favorable coverage, and we’ll remember you when contract renewal time comes.

Similarly, politicians who suggest competing publications should get some of the “welfare” can expect negative coverage.

Consider the following:

During the 6/28/2011 council meeting, there was this discussion about selection of the “official journal.”

Resolution No. 5748 was offered for final adoption by Mrs. Ezernack and on her motion seconded by Mr. Clark was unanimously approved and adopted. (There were no comments from the public.)

Resolution appointing The News-Star as the Official Journal of the City of Monroe, Louisiana, pursuant to the Louisiana R. S. 43:141 ET. SEQ. and further providing with respect thereto.

Mr. Clark wanted to know how we determine our official journal for the City.

Mrs. Summersgill stated I think Mrs. Riley could answer that better for you. There’s a specific statute on it.

Mrs. Carolus Riley, Council Clerk, informed the Council that with the information she advertise she need a daily circulation newspaper that way everything don’t get backed up as far as an ordinance that needs to come back in seven days. If a weekly paper is used that seven day ordinance that has to lie over will skip a meeting.

Mr. Clark stated I read that statute and most of the smaller municipalities don’t have daily papers.

Mrs. Riley explained that they also only have one meeting a month.

Mr. Clark noted that’s true but if the City wanted to advertise an item like that particular item only, could we also look at alternating our official journals.

Mrs. Riley explained that they all use to be named the City’s Official Journal; it’s not that they don’t get out business; they run the minutes and other departments.

Mr. Clark wanted to know how long the news star has been our official journal.

Mrs. Riley noted that the City has always used them and the other two, which has recently stopped.

Mr. Clark noted this is what he is looking at the Newsstar being the official journal the other two being the Free Press and the Dispatch, they get on an alternating basis and they get business here and there. He wanted to know how long how long the Newsstar has has been the official journal and what is the current price that we are paying for our official journal.

Mrs. Riley noted that it is less than the two other papers, which is $3.85 I believe to the News-star and $4 to the others.

Mr. Clark wanted to know if quotes were solicited from the other two papers, The Dispatch and the Free Press.

Mrs. Riley explained this is how it’s been set up. This was done prior to and this is how it has ran when bids were done when it first started.

Mr. Clark wanted to know how we know that the other two are higher.

Mrs. Riley noted that they run the minutes and that’s what they charge. $4.00 a column inch.

Mr. Clark wanted to know how they know that the price wouldn’t have changed if they had given a quote.

Mrs. Riley noted that one of them has been trying to raise the price anyway, but the Council can do that if you like.

Mr. Clark noted that at the school board the Dispatch was at $2.00 and he doesn’t know if they even asked them what the quote would be. Mr. Clark would like to see it get around to everybody if possible.

Mrs. Riley noted right and as she said the City did use them all, they were all the official journal and somewhere during budget hearings all that changed.

A similar discussion occurred at the 6/12/2012 council meeting.

Resolution No. 5909 was offered for final adoption by Mr. Clark and on his motion seconded by Dr. Starr was unanimously approved and adopted. (There were no comments from the public.)

Resolution appointing the News-Star as the Official Journal of the City of Monroe, Louisiana, pursuant to the Louisiana R. S. 43:141 et. seq. and further providing with respect thereto.

Mr. Clark asked Mrs. Riley, Council Clerk if this went out for bid.

Mrs. Riley explained that this item does not have to be bided, that the Secretary of State requires municipalities to appoint an official journal. It is up to the council to choose the official journal based on the qualifications and the need for that municipality as outline in the Louisiana Revised Statue. Mrs. Riley further explained that a daily newspaper is vital for the City of Monroe because there are a lot of departments other than the city council that run ads in the newspaper on a daily bases. The Planning and Zoning Department, the Purchasing Department etc. advertises time sensitive items and if only advertised in a weekly paper would put projects behind because council would not be able to act on those items in a timely manner. Also it was noted that the City of Monroe have departments that advertise in all of the local newspapers because of the need to adequately inform the public; by law it is required that the public be adequately and timely informed of governmental functions.

Dr. Starr wanted to know based on the State and the need for the continuity of publication that the News-Star was the option.

Mrs. Riley replied that it is a need.

Now, District Five’s Eddie Clark has been elected council chairman. It didn’t take long for The News Star to attack Clark, calling him an “ambulance chaser” in a 1/5/2013 editorial.

Their editorial board (President and Publisher David B. Petty, Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock, and community representatives Kay Kellogg Katz, Harris Brown, and Will Sutton) asked if Clark’s lawsuit against the Monroe City School Board for allegedly underpaying some employees was really an effort by Clark to “line his own pockets.”

See how it’s done?

What Isn’t in The (Monroe) News Star


Community Holds Animal Welfare Meeting in Monroe – KTVE-TV10

Dozens of Northeast Louisiana animal lovers gather to discuss how to improve animal welfare in the area, especially in the City of Monroe.

“This is something that’s been going on in our community for a long time,” says Anna Dunn to the nearly forty people gathered on ULM’s campus Thursday night. They’re fighting for the humane treatment of animals and for them it’s not just an interest, it’s a passion.

“This is a huge, big important issue.”

Folks representing several parishes are speaking up for animals. Many live in Monroe, where the animal control officer position has been vacant for months.

Animal Welfare Meeting: Citizens Speak Out – KNOE-TV8

Dozens of people gathered Thursday night to address one problem. The lack of an animal control officer in Monroe, and the ongoing problems that vicious, stray dogs are causing.

The last straw for many people was the recent killing of goats at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.

There were people from Farmerville to Winnsboro in attendance at Thursday night’s meeting.

Monroe City Councilman Ray Armstrong and others with the City of Monroe were there to hear what people had to say.

The thing everyone agreed on, they need to be the voice for the voiceless.

One concerned citizen, Anna Dunn, says “a lot of policies that need to be looked at, and that’s one thing that we hope to do as far as better the lives of animals in this community.”

The policy that seemed to be the biggest concern, Monroe’s lack of an animal control officer.

Mystery “Education” Group in Monroe Tuesday


That mystery group that we wrote about last JulyCoalition for Louisiana Progress, Inc. – will put in an appearance in Northeast Louisiana this week, and is a little bit less mysterious than it was then.

Monroe area news media are hooking up with the group for the Tuesday night forum.

Higher Education Forum Next Week
Louisiana Progress to co-sponsor education forum

The secrecy was lifted a bit, with the group listing the Board of Directors on their website.

The Chairman is Darrell Hunt, a long-time Democrat Party political operative and lobbyist.

The group’s Executive Director is Melissa Flournoy, a former Democrat state legislator from the Shreveport area. She also appears to be a political operative/lobbyist, judging from the groups she’s affiliated with.

Which touches on the unknown factors surrounding the group – specifically, who funds them, and how is their money spent.

As a federally recognized public charity, the group is required to file a public tax return, form 990.

However, the group claims to have raised no more than $50 thousand in 2010, and $25 thousand in 2009. That enables them to get away with filing a 990-N, an e-postcard return, with no information at all on where their money comes from or where it goes to.

See the documents:


Their website is full of rhetoric about “following the money” regarding cuts to education and other government spending.

How about some disclosure from Coalition for Louisiana Progress? And how about a little investigative reporting from the “real news media” before you all hook up with groups that are a front for lobbyists?

Hearing on Hakim v Gannett Continued


Despite being listed in the 07/23/12 Civil Docket for the Fourth Judicial (Morehouse, Ouachita parishes) District Court, a hearing on a “special motion to strike” in the case of Hakim v Gannett was not held this morning.

It turns out the judge in the case had earlier this month signed an order to upset and reset the hearing, but the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court neglected to show that change in the published court docket.

The new date and time is 9:30 AM, October 16, 2012, Ouachita parish court house.

See here the order, signed by Division A Judge Scott Leehy.

Eddie Hakim’s original suit claimed Gannett’s The (Monroe) News Star defamed him in their reports on the trial of former Monroe City Councilmen Arthur Gilmore and Robert “Red” Stevens.” Hakim was the prosecution’s chief witness against the two.

Last month, Gannett filed what is called an “anti-slapp” motion, which would if upheld require the plaintiff to prove a probability of success in his claim.

Attorneys in the case are Joe Guerriero, plaintiff, and William McNew, defendant.