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The [Friday] Papers

Jim Cramer is a showman with a crappy track record, but he's Wall Street's showman so it's noteworthy that he just put Michael Ferro on his Wall of Shame with this takedown:

Jack Sprat
Former Tribune CEO Jack Griffin, who brought Ferro into the company only to have Ferro fire him through a boardroom coup engineered behind his back, has a new gig as a senior advisor in an investment banking firm.

The View From L.A.
"If you want to know why things are so messy today, then consider what has happened since the year 2000, when the offspring of the Chandler family made the fateful decision to sell a controlling interest in the venerable Los Angeles Times to a business from Al Capone's city," Jon Regardie writes for the Los Angeles Downtown News.

"The line of 'leaders' at Tribune Company and the spun-off Tribune Publishing is enough to make grown reporters cry. The most notorious was Sam Zell, whose nickname is the Grave Dancer (I swear that's true), and whose Tribune strategy seemed to be built on layoffs and declaring corporate bankruptcy. In 2014 Jack Griffin arrived, holding court as the TPUB stock swan-dived from about $25 a share to below $7. Now there's Ferro. This is the equivalent of taking the James Bond franchise, and casting as 007 first Pauly Shore, then Yakov Smirnov, and finally Adam Sandler."

The Long Game
Gannett will be back in a year after Ferro has done to Tribune what he did to the Sun-Times.

Moving Dearborn
"Optics count in contentious takeover battles. And Tribune Publishing's decision to give its CEO a large relocation deal is not a good look," Brooke Sutherland writes for Bloomberg.

"Just days after rebuffing a 99 percent premium from suitor Gannett, Tribune disclosed on Thursday that it's going to pay Justin Dearborn $262,000 to move to Los Angeles. I mean, I know those tech folks are driving up the cost of living out in California, but come on."


Dearborn is already a wealthy man. He doesn't need to soak a financially struggling company for gold-plated moving expenses.

To wit:


Back to Sutherland/Bloomberg:

"Dearborn's relocation package works out at about five times the median yearly U.S. household income. It's about double the typical amount for executives, when looking on an annual basis, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index."

You'd think they could use some of Patrick Soon-Shiong's new technology just to beam Dearborn there.

Arrival Gate
"This is the opportunity to actually transform this newspaper world into this next generation for this next millennium who wants to see the information on any device, any time, all the time," Soon-Shiong said in an interview with CNBC's Power Lunch.

Like Ferro's notion of placing syndicated widgets of Tribune material across its properties, tuned by reader data provided to advertisers, this his hardly a new idea. In fact, it's so old it's boring. It's also not a strategy. Sad!

"The whole concept of creating a national footprint and taking a whole new model, where you integrate through fiber infrastructure and through cloud computing and you centralize a news network but actually take local news and bring it in on a daily real-time basis, I don't think that has really been tried on a newspaper level across this nation," said Soon-Shiong.

I'm not entirely certain what that means, but creating a national footprint was Tribune Company's original sin - it acquired Times-Mirror because it thought that adding the Los Angeles Times and New York's Newsday would prove irresistible to national advertisers, whom, it turned out, were not interested.

In another more ironic sense, Gannett is the company that has been building a national footprint of its own by seeding each of its local newspapers with content from USA Today - no machine vision needed!

Shareholder Of The Day
Each day seemingly brings a new institutional shareholder who wants to see Tribune make a deal with Gannett. Now we hear from a Gannett shareholder obviously eager for a deal.

"Gannett . . . may end up wearing down Tribune's resistance and getting a better price for the company down the line, [Cole Smead] says," the Seattle Times reports.

"'You have quite a few shareholders, like us, who are interested' in the deal going through, said Smead, who helps oversee the company's investments. The firm holds about 5.2 percent of Gannett's stock, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. 'We don't think Tribune has a hope' of thriving on its own."

Frank admission about Gannett, though: "They didn't always run their businesses well."

Dear Chicago
"Would you kindly remove your thick, stubby hands from my beautiful state?" writes Joe Mathews at SFGate.


Beachwood Photo Booth: America 2016, Part 1
Memorial Day weekend at a Meijer's in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Continuing The Sanders Revolution
"If Bernie wins the Democratic nomination, it will proceed with great advantage. It should proceed even if he does not. Here's how."

Why Do Only Some People Get 'Skin Orgasms' From Music?
Just lucky, I guess.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Eagles of Death Metal, The Kills, Trashcan Sinatras, VLK, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Frisbie, The Sadies, and Waco Brothers.



Sharing Real Life, Made Real Here.


Walgreens Was Too Scared To Vet Theranos.


Bank Of America's Winning Excuse: We Didn't Mean To.



A sampling.

Busy working on his next Op-Ed.




The Beachwood Tip Line: Machine vision.


Posted on May 27, 2016

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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