Postmedia and the heavy price it pays to survive (David Olive, The Star) (Postmedia owns Vancouver Sun, The Province, 24 Hours, and more)

The media have a huge role in society. It's good for the public to look under the hood.

The media have a huge role in society. It’s good for the public to look under the hood.

Despite the rise of social media and the Internet, what gets covered in the main papers and broadcast media still has a major influence on public opinion, democracy, and society. Postmedia is a major player in mainstream media, so we think it’s important to understand what goes on “under the hood.”

We recently wrote “Postmedia to buy 24 Hours as part of 175 paper deal with Sun Media. Is there too much media concentration in Canada?” Today, we direct readers to this fascinating analysis that appeared recently in “The Star” (Toronto). We just carry some excerpts, and encourage you to go to the actual article. Seeing this, some people might wonder: “With the corporate owners looming over them like this, how can editors and reporters focus on covering the news?” And with the bottom line being so important, how does this affect the selection and portrayal of news and information?

In the looking-glass world of financial engineering, you can profit handsomely from an asset of steadily declining value. That is, from picking the carcass clean.”  (David Olive, The Star)

Postmedia and the heavy price it pays to survive
(by David Olive, The Star, 23-Jan-2015)
Postmedia’s newspapers, with their depopulated newsrooms, run the risk of becoming irrelevant as a bulwark of democracy as they generate just enough cash to further enrich mostly U.S. absentee owners.

Caption: Postmedia President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Godfrey attends a press conference in Toronto Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 announcing Postmedia’s purchase of Sun Media Corp.’s English-language operations.

Selected excerpts:

  • Canada’s free press and the citizens it serves are paying a heavy price to satisfy the short-term profit-seeking of U.S. financiers who now control many of the leading originators of news in Canada’s largest communities.
  • Postmedia Network Canada Corp., 35-per-cent owned by the Manhattan-based hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management, Postmedia’s largest shareholder, was already Canada’s biggest newspaper chain when it announced last October it was buying the Sun Media chain of tabloid dailies and more than 150 other titles from Quebecor Media Inc.
  • GoldenTree and its fellow hedge-fund investors in Postmedia thrive on acquiring distressed properties on the cheap and milking their remaining assets. GoldenTree took the lead in 2010 in creating the Postmedia agglomeration, which it salvaged from the wreckage of the Asper family’s bankrupt CanWest empire. It put a Canadian face on the largely U.S.-owned Postmedia appointing Paul Godfrey, 75, as its CEO.

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