When MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton and his partners ponied up $1 billion for three California Bay Area newspapers formerly owned by Knight Ridder (and one ex-KR paper in Minnesota), he earned the enmity of a relentless foe: Bruce Brugmann, the editor and publisher of the Bay Guardian, an alternative weekly in San Francisco. Brugmann's bark may be worse than his bite, but his bark is mighty loud -- especially when he convinces others to yap along with him.
The Bay Guardian editorialized against the purchase of the California papers under the headline "How to Fight Singleton's Monopoly" -- but that was only the beginning. Inspired by the editorial, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi submitted a resolution to the SF Board of Supervisors asking that his fellows urge "the United States Attorney General and the California Attorney General to carefully consider the antitrust implications of the proposed acquisition" of Knight Ridder by the McClatchy Company, and McClatchy's subsequent deal with MediaNews Group. This resolution echoes a letter sent to a Justice Department type under the signatures of several members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California. Although these efforts are unlikely to scotch the deal, or even delay it, they will almost certainly generate headaches.
A billion dollars bought Singleton four newspapers -- but it apparently didn't buy him any peace and quiet. -- Michael Roberts
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.