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A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Up to two dozen charter schools could shut down under budget cuts CPS recently released, sending up to 15,000 students in search of new schools," Catalyst reports.

So there's some good news after all!

"Charter advocates are working on proposals to reform state education funding."

Sure, now they are.

There are no budget atheists when foxholes are on the chopping block, or something.

Dumb Digital Doomsayers
"[Tuesday] afternoon brought additional fodder for predictions of a tremulous bubble in digital media: VICE News, the edgy outlet that's expanded to become a global presence, announced it's axing 15 jobs in New York and Los Angeles," Benjamin Mullin writes for the Poynter Institute.

I don't know that the loss of 15 jobs equates to fodder for predictions of a tremulous bubble in digital media, but let's read on.

"In a statement, a VICE spokesperson said today's cuts fit into a larger expansion plan that will ultimately see the company adding jobs and bolstering its daily video, documentary and text offerings."

On one hand, this could just be corporate-speak. On the other, job losses at legacy newsrooms have been reported for years without correspondingly noting that hires are often occurring at the same time in a different (editorial or editorially supporting) realm of a company.

"Nearly 20 employees have joined the company of late, new hires are slated to join in the coming weeks, and VICE is planning to announce new editorial and production bureaus in Hong Kong and San Francisco later this year."

Well for fuck's sake! That's a net of five new jobs - at least! Where's the tremulous bubble in that?

"'The plan in place will expand VICE's news offerings across digital and TV, continue the recent of wave of newsroom hires, add additional foreign bureaus and marshal the company's existing news divisions into one cohesive powerhouse,' the statement read."

It's no secret that Vice is redirecting a portion of its resources to video. That's not the same as simply slashing payroll. And yet:

"VICE News becomes the latest in a line of venture-backed online media companies to announce layoffs or gloomy business news in the last year or so."

I hate to sound corporate myself, but this hardly seems gloomy to me - news organizations need to be nimble (which isn't the same as chasing the latest shiny thing, and shouldn't leave employees without any fundamental sense of security) and strategically fresh instead of rotting through recalcitrance like so many print operations.

Ferro's War
"It was a day of playbacks - in response to my Monday Morning Report on the Gannett bid for Tribune Publishing, the Tribune team spent a long time on the phone with me, telling me over and over how their Chairman Michael Ferro's only interest is whatever is best for shareholders and that nothing was personal between him and Gannett, as I had stated in the report," Cliff Oxford writes for Forbes.

"Well, Ferro spent all day yesterday convincing not only me, but everyone that it is such a personal battle he is willing to gamble big time with shareholders' wealth on the line."

Without a doubt. It's not personal insofar as Ferro has a particular grudge with Gannett, but in Ferro's self-perception as a genius who very badly wants to show the world that he can save the newspaper industry.

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A few proxy firms have weighed in on Tribune's side, though no serious analyst takes Ferro's plans seriously.

Then why?

"The advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services is behind Tribune Publishing on this issue, partly because Gannett has not put a firm tender offer on the table. But the proxy adviser gives Tribune Publishing its lowest corporate governance grade over all," Jennifer Saba reports for Reuters Breakingviews.

"The first time Tribune Publishing sent Gannett packing, it noted the board's unanimity. That language is missing this go-round. It is a sign perhaps that other shareholders may get a say eventually. For now, Mr. Ferro has managed to keep their fate in his hands. They may regret that: I.S.S. notes that he did not do so well running the Chicago Sun-Times."

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"Gannett could still end up successfully acquiring Tribune," Ronald Barusch writes for the Wall Street Journal.

"Indeed, relatively few companies that receive unsolicited bids at substantial premiums end up remaining independent. But a takeover without the current board's cooperation will require patience and perseverance on Gannett's part."

Perhaps another full year when Gannett would have an opportunity to change the Trib board. At that point, as well, Gannett may have accumulated stock on the open market while watching Ferro go down in flames. But there may not be an immediate next step for Gannett - though a shareholder lawsuit remains possible.

"[Gannett] missed a February deadline to run a competing slate of directors at the meeting," Liz Hoffman notes for the Journal.

"At the time, Gannett was busy trying to close its takeover of Journal Media Group, which wasn't completed until April.

"ISS cited Gannett's failure to nominate a slate among its reasons for recommending against the withhold campaign. Due to Gannett's 'timing issues . . . [t]here is no action shareholders can move forward if they find the offer a compelling starting point for negotiations,' the firm said."

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Ferro has agreed to open the company's books as long as Gannett is willing to sign, of course, a non-disclosure agreement. But Ferro's NDA is a bit of a trap itself, including a provision that Gannett not talk to the media about its attempt to acquire the company for two years, according to a spokesperson who talked to Politico's Ken Doctor.

Doctor has been certain from the start that Ferro would be unable to fend off Gannett. Just two days ago, Doctor, whose reporting on the saga has been the deepest, tweeted this:

Now, however, he acknowledges that Gannett might be growing weary of the fight. The surprise appearance of Soon-Shiong on the scene indicates that Ferro isn't just strategizing for a sweetened offer; he badly wants to own this company. The question is, just how badly will he manage it? Everything we already know about Ferro tells us the answer is, really badly.

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See also: Billionaire's Tribune Play Has Toyland Parallels.

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Letter From Missouri: The Ozarks Are Deranged
Put corn on a fishhook and they'll go after it. From our very own Scott Buckner.

Sasha Go Hard: They Don't Have Hearts In Chicago
The shooters don't care.

Grit vs. Racism
Stop adjusting youth to injustice.

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BeachBook

Wearing A Cup Is No Slam Dunk For These Cubs.

I had to put on a cup just reading this.

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Should Chicago Be Celebrating Demolitions?

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U.S. Investigating Budweiser Incentive Program.

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Judge OKs Potentially Lethal Lawsuit Against World's Biggest Banks.

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After The Precariat, The Unnecessariat: The Humans Who Are Superfluous To Corporations.

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Viet Con.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Whiskey Tango Ferro.



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Posted on May 25, 2016


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - Dangerous, Low-Wage Industries Depend On Immigrants, Refugees.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Dear Cubs, Make It Stop.

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mail Call.


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