"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The once mighty St. Louis Post-Dispatch, flagship of Joseph Pulitzer’s publishing fleet, announced in a small online posting December 17 a warning from its company’s accountant that it may no longer be, by the year’s end, a “going concern.” The value of stock in the Post-Dispatch’s publisher, Lee Enterprises, Inc., has dropped by about 97 percent since the beginning of the year. The company has lost more than 65 percent of its market value during the past 30 days alone.
Less than four years ago, Lee Enterprises purchased the entire Pulitzer company, then publishers of 14 daily newspapers, for $1.5 billion in cash. A share of Lee stock then sold for $45; today a share sells for 34 cents. (Note how prescient the Pulitzers were to sell for cash, not for stock.) With the parent company’s market capitalization now only $22 million, what might the Post-Dispatch be worth by itself -- $200,000? Maybe $400,000 at most?
The Post-Dispatch announcement came a week after the privately held Tribune Company, publishers of such leading dailies as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun, filed for bankruptcy protection. E.W. Scripps Company, whose stock has fallen nearly 90 percent in 12 months, is trying to sell its Denver daily, the Rocky Mountain News. McClatchy, owner of the Miami Herald and other properties of the former Knight-Ridder chain, has seen its stock drop by more than 90 percent this year. The Herald reportedly also is for sale. This month the New York Times Company, owner of the eponymous Gotham daily as well as the patrician Boston Globe, sought to mortgage its new headquarters building and sell its partial stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise to meet urgent cash needs. Detroit's two newspapers announced they would curtail daily circulation of the print edition. One will cut back home delivery to three days a week, the other, only two days a week.
An institution, once grand and powerful, is vanishing into the ether, with no small assist from the Ethernet.
Conor Cruise O'Brien, who has died aged 91, was the leading Irish intellectual of his generation, though he assumed so many guises – diplomatist, historian, literary critic, proconsul, professor, playwright, government minister, columnist and editor – that he defies further categorisation.
I remember one editorial dinner at Van Galbraith's (WFB must have been out of town). Much wine had been served, and Conor was declaiming against the third president. He banged his fist on the table and cried, "Jefferson was a sh*t! Jefferson was a sh*t!"