Friday, August 22, 2008

Big Board set to boot GateHouse

GateHouse Media was warned late today that it must come up with a plan to raise the price of its stock or will be dropped from trading at the New York Stock Exchange.

If GHS is kicked off the Big Board, it would become the third newspaper publisher this year to be delisted at the exchange. Journal Register Co. (JRCO) and Sun-Times Media Group (SUTM) previously withdrew from trading at the Big Board when the value of their shares, like those of GateHouse, fell below the required minimum.

A fourth newspaper publisher, American Community Newspapers (ACN) has been warned that it may be kicked off the Amerian Stock Exchange unless it quickly files the quarterly financia statement required under exhcnage rules.

The NYSE requires a company like GateHouse to maintain a market capitalization of no less than $75 million and an average closing price of $1 per share in any 30-day period. On Aug. 15, the Big Board said that the average market cap for GHS was $57.3 million and the average share price was 99 cents. At the close of trading today, the value of the company’s stock was $34.9 million, or 60 cents per share.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission today, the Big Board gave GHS 45 days to submit a plan to lift the value of its shares. If the company fails to produce a plan or the exchange declines to accept it, the company would be dropped from trading.

If GHS departs the Big Board, its shares would join those of JRCO and SUTM on the Pink Sheets, an electronic marketplace accessible via any stockbroker.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are we ready yet to declare that regionalization of local newspapers plain doesn't work. Both Gatehouse and Media News were put together with the idea of having centralized editing and production functions for a collection of nearby newspapers. But it didn't work for the simple reason that editors need to be in their communities to be plugged into what is going on. I suspect newspapers will see a similar problem by outsourcing editing functions to India. Yes, it saves money, but the Indian editors don't have a clue of what is going on in the communities they are working with.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you mentioned this, Alan, because the problems at GHS point to a larger problem in the newspaper industry -- the failure of local papers to get an audience on the Internet.
A couple of years ago, the consultants and gurus proclaimed online was the future for newspapers. They even berated those who resisted online journalism as curmugeons. But look at the survey recently done by the Readership Institute and you see 62 percent of Americans have never visited their local newspaper's Web site.
So all of this money, labor and effort being put into creating breakthrough Web sites has gone for nothing? Think of all the copy desks GHS dismantled to provide labor for their TownOnline and Wicked Local Web sites.
GHS is not alone. During this month's 1,000-employee cutback, Gannett's diminished local newspaper staffs were cashiered into drafting the local content for the new Metromix Web sites Gannett and Tribune is putting together.
Wasted effort? If newspapers put as much money and effort into building their local audience as they put in their Web operations, would the industry be in the dire straits it now faces? Is the Internet an ephemera?

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off the first two comments, it appears this proves just about anything we want. It shows what happens when you combine editing functions under one roof and it shows what happens when you try to address the Internet (which could be just a passing thing, after all).

I'll bet a thousand dollars -- the check is right here, signed by "Anonymous" -- that those two comments were produced from the sad, limited perspective of newsroom people, the dead weight on the industry for the pivotal last 15 years. (That perspective: Leave things alone, especially here in the newsroom, and everything will turn out fine.)

Many things happen on the road to ruin. They're not the cause of the trip; they're just things you see out the window as you go by.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I will lay my $1000 that the third comment here comes from an "industry consultant" earning a very nice living promoting changes in newspapers. So did regionalization of editing functions you once promoted work in the real world of newspapering? Changes promoted by these false Elijahs are destroying newsrooms, yet when challenged by the failures represented by GHS and Media News models, they don't defend their positions, but condemn their critics as retrogrades. It's an ad hominem argument.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You owe the forum a thousand bucks. Please make out your check to the Society of Professional Journalists.

I'm Anonymous3. My feelings are based on 20 years spent working in newsrooms and leading newsrooms. I've never been a consultant.

In a disaster the size of the newspaper industry's, with failure on so many fronts, you have to expect resuscitation attempts that come to nothing. There will be more. Maybe that's what the regional editing approach represents. It is one attempt at cost savings and reinvention, a requirement barely shouldered by news people. (Gatehouse and Media News have problems larger than their copy desks, trust me.)

The biggest failure of all has been the do-nothing attitude predominant in every newsroom, where, let's be honest, much philosophy is based on selfishness, resistance to change and an unwillingness to see the inconvenient big picture.

That's not an ad hominem attack. It's a criticism of an entire industry.

Your check goes to:

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. newspaper reporters who live 30 miles from their beats.
2. newspapers afraid to "make waves" and selling "advertorial content" to advertisers.
3. Cost cutting that STARTS with workers and never reaches bosses.
4. Bad, cliche-ridden j-school no-think writing

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hard to "make waves" when you live in the town you report on, better to just tell the truth and try and keep it interesting!

4:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home