Scripps mum on any interest in Rocky Mountain News
DENVER, Colorado The E.W. Scripps Co. planned to confer with its broker on its next steps for the Rocky Mountain News after the deadline to submit bids for the Denver newspaper neared.Scripps spokesman Tim King said he would have no comment on whether there were any expressions of interest before the deadline at the close of business Friday.Broadwater & Associates of New York, which was helping to evaluate offers, also had no comment.Scripps said in December that it was putting the newspaper up for sale along with its 50 percent stake in the Denver Newspaper Agency, which handles business operations for the News and The Denver Post under a joint operating agreement.At the time, Scripps said losses at the News could reach $15 million for 2008 as advertising revenues failed to keep up with editorial expenses.The News has about 230 editorial employees.News business editor Rob Reuteman said it was a typical Friday in the newsroom, with editors discussing plans for Saturday and Monday editions.”We have not had any word that we’re closing. It really is business as usual today,” Reuteman said.Newspapers around the country have struggled to pay rising costs for newsprint and personnel as competition from the Internet lured away ad dollars and subscribers. Woes in the housing and auto industries and in the job market also have curbed ad sales.MediaNews Group Inc., which owns The Denver Post, has asked unions at the newspaper and the Denver Newspaper Agency for wage and benefit concessions. MediaNews CEO William Dean Singleton did not return a phone message Friday, and Denver Newspaper Guild representatives had no immediate comment at midday.In the latest sign of trouble for the industry, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis announced Friday that it had filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.Both the News and The Post have been promoting special editions Wednesday to mark the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.