We’re bursting with questions about the sale of the PD
By CHRIS SMITH / The Press Democrat
Less than a week before Christmas, the Press Democrat building isn’t the cheeriest or most expectant that it’s ever been.
You can imagine the questions that are bouncing off the walls. The PD’s publisher, Bruce Kyse, said at a late-morning staff meeting that Halifax intends to offer jobs to most Press Democrat employees but that, beyond that, he has little information for us.
So for the moment each of us 300-some employees can only wonder if we will have a job next year, and whether Halifax will keep the PD or or sell it, and what changes are in store for this nearly 155-year-old newspaper.
Being summoned today for a surprise announcement by the publisher triggered a sense of deja vu for me and some other PD veterans. We well remember the day in 1985 that we learned the family-owned paper had been sold to what The New York Times then called its Regional Newspaper Group.
That announcement 26 years ago caused some uncertainty, y0u can be sure. But it was also exciting that we were going to join the family of newspapers owned by The New York Times; there were far less desirable companies that we could have been sold to.
And the newspaper industry in general, and the PD in particular, was doing very well back then. The Times regional group built a state-of-the-art printing plant in Rohnert Park, and I recall the first publisher brought in by the Times saying he anticipated that we would probably outgrow our main building in downtown Santa Rosa.
These are very different times for the newspaper industry, which struggles. We have no idea, not yet, at least, why Halifax is buying an entire group of papers and what it thinks of the Press Democrat. Or what it plans to do with it.
So we wait. I and the people I work with at the PD love this paper and our roles in it and in our community. We hope the new owners will aspire only to make this newspaper better.
But I will admit that right now we’re pretty anxious.