Â The Tribune, that other newspaper in San Luis Obispo, has been soldâ€”part of a huge deal in which the relatively small McClatchy Company purchased the large Knight Ridder chain. According to an article published in The Tribune, McClatchy was about one-third the size of Knight Ridder before purchasing the newspaper giant for $4.5 billion, assuming $2 billion of its debt.
Â McClatchy, which boasts the Sacramento Bee as its flagship paper, is made up of 12 daily papers and 17 community newspapers. Knight Ridder is made up of 32 daily newspapers and proclaims, on its website, that it had $3 billion in profit in 2005.
Â After the sale was announced, McClatchy quickly said it intended to sell off a dozen of the newly acquired Knight Ridder papers. The Tribune is the only paper in California McClatchy intends to keep, because it is, apparently, the only one in a growing market. That announcement surprised some in the media world who saw Knight Ridder papers like the San Jose Mercury News as important and respectable entities.
Â After the intended sale of these dozen papers was announced, Tony Ridder, CEO of Knight Ridder, wrote an e-mail to all Knight Ridder employees that was quickly leaked to the Poynter Institute media blog called Romenesko. â€œFor those 12 newspapers that are being sold, the uncertainty is not over,â€? wrote Ridder, â€œAnd I regret that very much.â€?
Â Because The Tribune seems to be safe from immediate spinoff,Â spirits at the paper are reported to be lighter. When asked about the mood at The Tribune, one unnamed source said, â€œItâ€™s actually pretty good,â€? adding, â€œThey [McClatchy] sound like a pretty good company to work for. The other thing is people are relieved that [The Tribune] is not getting sold off.â€?
Â Sandra Duerr, executive editor of The Tribune, refused to comment on the sale and directed inquires to Knight Ridderâ€™s corporate office.
Â Despite the collective sigh of relief, some worries linger. â€œAs good as [the sale] is, nobody knows whatâ€™s going to happen,â€? said the unnamed source. â€œWe have a full staff right now, which is kind of rare. People run these things as a business, so nobody knows whatâ€™s going to happen.â€?
Â The sale is expected to be finalized this summer.