Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Where's he been????

Well, good day after a long hiatus. Sorry that I've been away. A few of you have written to say you enjoy these ramblings. Thank you much. I do appreciate.

So much has happened since the ides of February....won't try to catch up. Nothing more stale than yesterday's news.

Speaking of yesterday's news, Gannett, Inc., the nation's largest newspaper chain and my former employer, (The Journal News and USA Today) has purchased The Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time (no, it's not times, it is time) from the Tribune company, another former employer (New York Daily News).

Gannett forked over some $73 million, which is a bargain compared to the bloated prices paid for the New Haven Register in the 1980s and the then-Bridgeport Post, now Connecticut Post, in the late 80s or early 90s. Those went for nine figures each.

It also makes sense from circulation and editorial standpoints of The Journal News, although I'm not sure how well the readers will be served.

When they belonged first to the L.A. Times, then to Tribune, Stamford and Greenwich could carry in-state stories generated by The Hartford Courant and regional Newsday stories, as well as their own work.

They won't have that, but they still will have work generated by Gannett News Service in Albany and the local stuff generated by The Journal News. It's not that The Journal News (TJN) doesn't have the talent to cover the region. The only question is if Bob Fredericks and his crew have the horses.

The New York crew, especially the news and copy desks, will also have to go to school on how things work in Connecticut.

In Westchester, Putnam and Rockland, it's county this and county that. School districts don't match there are two school districts that even cross county lines. There are hamlets and villages and towns. What's a neighborhood in Stamford and Greenwich are villages with their own mayors and boards and police and fire in Westchester.

In Connecticut, towns and school districts are the same. Connecticut has, by statute, 169 towns. If you come into New Haven, population of 120,000 or so thousand, you may see a sign that says Town Line. So what.
In Westchester, the quickest way to get into a fistfight is to call a village a town and a town a city.

In Connecticut, Groton is a city and a town and is the only town and city that has separate town buildings. In Westchester, there are many such duplications.

From a circulation and advertising standpoint, it makes sense. With Danbury on the block or sold, Westchester and Putnam now have more to sell. There may be an excuse to reintroduce zoning, which a lot of people in Westchester miss.

TJN may be able to work out better in the Richfields and New Canaan and other tony places and do battle with Norwalk and Bridgeport.

Anyway, it's a good deal.

Gotta go, but not before I say good luck to an old buddy, David McKay Wilson, who is leaving TJN to do this blogging for a living. David is a journeyman who worked for papers in Connecticut including the New Haven Advocate. I hope he does well. He's a great digger and is dedicated to finding and telling the truth and let the devil take the hindmost.
Best of luck, Dave. Give 'em hell.

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