Monday, January 31, 2005

Lee Enterprises Buys Post Dispatched

Appears that I may have been correct about the reasons for the changes to the Op-Ed page announced Sunday, which would appear to be related to the announcement today that Lee Enterprises purchased the paper. I thought it would be Gannett but it ends up that Lee made the deal.

I've been researching Lee the past couple hours and I'm not getting a real hard read on the political leanings of the organization. What I have seen is that they appear to be a very profit driven company and would appear to be a well run business. If that's the case then that could be very good news for the readers of the paper who are not ultra-liberal. Mary Junck the Chairwoman and Chief Executive appears to be a very talented business woman who understand that a paper has to be profitable. If that's the case its hard to believe that they will not immediately understand the paper must move to the middle to remain viable.

The standard line from the Post is that both companies "share the same tradition and journalistic values" which is scary and not a good thing if true. Editor Ellen Soeteber read a list of Lee goals which were "strong local news, interesting story telling, stories that are entertaining and surprising and news that is easy to read". That does not tell us enough to really know where the Pravda Post is heading.

I say it can not be a bad thing that the Post has been sold. No other organization aside from maybe the NYT or LA Times are more liberal than the Post. New owner blood can probably only move the Post closer to the middle and into mainstream views and opinion. It might not move as far as it needs to, but my thoughts are it will probably move somewhat to the middle. I will take a guarded optimistic hope at this point as we move forward.