The future existence of the Rocky Mountain News is in the balance, with bids due tomorrow for anyone interested in buying the Denver newspaper from E.W. Scripps Company. Meanwhile, the paper reports that the Denver Newspaper Agency, which handles advertising, printing and distribution for both the “Rocky” and Denver Post, will not meet today’s deadline to win concessions from unions.
Scripps, which has already closed dailies in Cincinnati and Albuquerque, announced in early December that it was putting Rocky up for sale with a deadline of mid-January. The company said the newspaper had operated $11 million in the red in the first nine months of 2008.
Since Scripps’ Rocky and MediaNews Corporation’s Denver Post receive equal distributions from the Denver Newspaper Agency, their JOA company, it’s pretty obvious that the Post is also losing millions. Shortly after Rocky was put up for sale, MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton requested $18 million in concessions from the JOA company and $2 million from the unions representing Post newsroom employees. The JOA company than said it needed concessions from its unions by today (1/16/09) so it could renegotiate $130 million of debt.
According to a story in the Rocky, union leaders have been skeptical of the demands and want to take a look at the books. To date, little progress has been made on obtaining any labor concessions.