Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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The CEO of the Gannett company announced today that the firm will explore the purchase of Knight Ridder, according to a story in today's Star Tribune.
Knight Ridder is under pressure by its major stockholders, investment firms dissatisfied with the performance of its stock, to sell the company. Declining subscriptions and falling advertising revenues have crimped the profitability of the newspaper business in general.
Knight Ridder is the parent company of the Aberdeen American News, the Grand Forks Herald, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press in this region. Gannett is parent company for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the St. Cloud Times, the Des Moines Register, the Iowa City Press Citizen, and KARE-TV, channel 11, in Minneapolis in the region.
While the proposed sale is regarded as a possibility that news coverage could be improved for areas such as Aberdeen and northeast South Dakota, such sales usually end up with new owners cutting costs by cutting staffs and operations. Profit margins and bottom lines are the focus of contemporary media, not comprehensive and accurate news coverage. The Aberdeen American News is the only medium fielding a reporting staff in its area, and the newspaper shows a dedication to a regressive political agenda with little regard for aggressive and accurate reporting.
No routine radio or television reporting is done for northeast South Dakota. Some weeklies attempt more comprehensive coverage of some small towns, but no comprehensive coverage of the region is available.
Concerned citizens are looking for ways to use the Internet to supply more reliable and incisive coverage.