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mahina

mahina's Journal
mahina's Journal
January 21, 2024

Aloha Mississippi DUers. Our newspaper, The Honolulu Star Advertiser, is likely being acquired by Carpenter Media Group.

What can you tell me about them?

What publications do they operate? What editorial and operational bent do you discern, if any? If they prevail, are we likely to see real journalism or a right wing media push?

Thank you for your kind responses.
https://www.civilbeat.org/2024/01/mississippi-publisher-looks-to-buy-struggling-star-advertiser-and-other-hawaii-papers/

Mississippi Publisher Looks To Buy Struggling Star-Advertiser And Other Hawaii Papers
31
Media mogul David Black, who merged Honolulu's two daily newspapers, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada.

By Stewart Yerton / January 17, 2024
Reading time: 6 minutes.

When David Black acquired the Akron Beacon Journal for $165 million in 2006, it seemed like a big win for the Canadian newspaper mogul who several years before had bought the Honolulu Star-Bulletin – and who would buy The Honolulu Advertiser and merge the two Honolulu papers in 2010.

Black was coming off failed bids for two Philadelphia newspapers at the time of the Akron deal and told long-time media columnist Jim Romenesko, “I wasn’t going to lose a third time.”

Two decades later, the Akron deal looks like anything but a win.

Black’s media empire is in financial shambles, insolvent and for sale, with a publisher who lives in Natchez, Mississippi, making the first, “stalking horse,” bid. Black announced his retirement from the company this week as well.

As described in documents filed under Canada’s equivalent of U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring, the Akron deal played a big role in Black’s financial troubles.

The result for Hawaii is a likely new owner for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest newspaper, as well as The Garden Island on Kauai, The Hawaii Tribune Herald, West Hawaii Today and Midweek.

In a news release, Black Press Ltd. said it had entered into a proposed sale to Black’s debt holders and Carpenter Media Group, which owns more than two dozen small town newspapers in the South, including publications like the L’Observateur of LaPlace, Louisiana, and the Batesville, Mississippi, Panolian.

Carpenter has proposed to put up $7 million in cash and note holders $7 million in debt to buy Black’s entire empire, which also includes three newspapers in Alaska and 35 newspapers and websites in Washington, according to documents filed in the Canadian court proceeding. Black also has secured up to $5.5 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. to fund operations while the restructuring is worked out.

Black’s Demise Tracked Fall Of Print Newspapers

Black Press Ltd. lays out a familiar narrative in its petition to the court. For years, Black’s newspapers — like many others in the U.S. — generated consistent revenue and profits, the documents says.

“In the past decade, however, the newspaper and publishing industry has been negatively affected by digital transformation and consolidation pressures,” Black Press wrote.

The company’s print newspapers were losing readers “on account of the shift in the way readers obtain their news,” Black told the court.

The company’s revenues were further battered by “the dramatic decline in advertising revenue caused by the loss of small retailers in the communities the Company’s newspapers serve.”

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the problems.

The company highlighted the $165 million Akron Beacon Journal purchase as a particular source of pain.

“Beacon lost money every year following the acquisition,” the document says.

To cut its losses, Black sold the paper for $16 million in 2018. But that wasn’t the end of the bleeding. Black Press remained saddled with some $45 million in pension plan liabilities for its Akron workers.

The company took steps to fix its financial problems. Since 2016, it sold real estate holdings worth more than $45 million and cut $30 million in annual costs throughout the chain. For instance, in Hawaii in March 2019, the company, through its subsidiary Oahu Publications Inc., entered into a sales and leaseback transaction on its Kapolei printing press facility for $38.9 million, resulting in an $8 million gain on sale, according to the court filing.

But none of this was enough to enable Black to pay its bills, court documents say.

In Hawaii, those expenses included a weekly payroll of $405,000 — about $21 million a year — for 272 employees.

According to the court filing, Black’s Hawaii subsidiary also was spending $286,322 per month to lease back the print facility that it sold and $141,964 for space for its offices at Waterfront Plaza. In addition, the company was paying for two condos in Honolulu: a studio at the Island Colony in Waikiki for $1,600 per month and a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at the luxe Hokua high-rise in Kakaako for $5,800 per month. The condos are listed in the court filing as “office for publication.”

Eventually, to avoid restructuring, Black hired a firm that specializes in newspaper deals, but that “did not result in a viable bid for any portion of the Company or its assets,” Black said.

Union Leaders: Star-Advertiser Newsroom Morale Is Low

It’s not clear where this leaves Black’s Hawaii publications and its employees.

Carpenter Media’s chairman, Todd Carpenter, is a capable publisher with a good track record, said Ken Stickney, a long-time editor in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.


Business
Mississippi Publisher Looks To Buy Struggling Star-Advertiser And Other Hawaii Papers
31
Media mogul David Black, who merged Honolulu's two daily newspapers, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada.

By Stewart Yerton / January 17, 2024
Reading time: 6 minutes.

When David Black acquired the Akron Beacon Journal for $165 million in 2006, it seemed like a big win for the Canadian newspaper mogul who several years before had bought the Honolulu Star-Bulletin – and who would buy The Honolulu Advertiser and merge the two Honolulu papers in 2010.

Black was coming off failed bids for two Philadelphia newspapers at the time of the Akron deal and told long-time media columnist Jim Romenesko, “I wasn’t going to lose a third time.”

Two decades later, the Akron deal looks like anything but a win.

Black’s media empire is in financial shambles, insolvent and for sale, with a publisher who lives in Natchez, Mississippi, making the first, “stalking horse,” bid. Black announced his retirement from the company this week as well.

Star Advertiser newspaper office Restaurant Row. 27 may 2016
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s owner has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2016)
As described in documents filed under Canada’s equivalent of U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring, the Akron deal played a big role in Black’s financial troubles.

The result for Hawaii is a likely new owner for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest newspaper, as well as The Garden Island on Kauai, The Hawaii Tribune Herald, West Hawaii Today and Midweek.

In a news release, Black Press Ltd. said it had entered into a proposed sale to Black’s debt holders and Carpenter Media Group, which owns more than two dozen small town newspapers in the South, including publications like the L’Observateur of LaPlace, Louisiana, and the Batesville, Mississippi, Panolian.

Carpenter has proposed to put up $7 million in cash and note holders $7 million in debt to buy Black’s entire empire, which also includes three newspapers in Alaska and 35 newspapers and websites in Washington, according to documents filed in the Canadian court proceeding. Black also has secured up to $5.5 million in debtor-in-possession financing from Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. to fund operations while the restructuring is worked out.

Black’s Demise Tracked Fall Of Print Newspapers

Black Press Ltd. lays out a familiar narrative in its petition to the court. For years, Black’s newspapers — like many others in the U.S. — generated consistent revenue and profits, the documents says.

“In the past decade, however, the newspaper and publishing industry has been negatively affected by digital transformation and consolidation pressures,” Black Press wrote.

The company’s print newspapers were losing readers “on account of the shift in the way readers obtain their news,” Black told the court.

The company’s revenues were further battered by “the dramatic decline in advertising revenue caused by the loss of small retailers in the communities the Company’s newspapers serve.”

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the problems.

The company highlighted the $165 million Akron Beacon Journal purchase as a particular source of pain.

“Beacon lost money every year following the acquisition,” the document says.

To cut its losses, Black sold the paper for $16 million in 2018. But that wasn’t the end of the bleeding. Black Press remained saddled with some $45 million in pension plan liabilities for its Akron workers.

The company took steps to fix its financial problems. Since 2016, it sold real estate holdings worth more than $45 million and cut $30 million in annual costs throughout the chain. For instance, in Hawaii in March 2019, the company, through its subsidiary Oahu Publications Inc., entered into a sales and leaseback transaction on its Kapolei printing press facility for $38.9 million, resulting in an $8 million gain on sale, according to the court filing.

But none of this was enough to enable Black to pay its bills, court documents say.

In Hawaii, those expenses included a weekly payroll of $405,000 — about $21 million a year — for 272 employees.

According to the court filing, Black’s Hawaii subsidiary also was spending $286,322 per month to lease back the print facility that it sold and $141,964 for space for its offices at Waterfront Plaza. In addition, the company was paying for two condos in Honolulu: a studio at the Island Colony in Waikiki for $1,600 per month and a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at the luxe Hokua high-rise in Kakaako for $5,800 per month. The condos are listed in the court filing as “office for publication.”

Eventually, to avoid restructuring, Black hired a firm that specializes in newspaper deals, but that “did not result in a viable bid for any portion of the Company or its assets,” Black said.

Union Leaders: Star-Advertiser Newsroom Morale Is Low

It’s not clear where this leaves Black’s Hawaii publications and its employees.

Carpenter Media’s chairman, Todd Carpenter, is a capable publisher with a good track record, said Ken Stickney, a long-time editor in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Star Advertiser staffers Rob Perez, left and right, Bryant Fukutomi hold signs Save Hawaii News outside the Honolulu Star Advertiser offices.
Star Advertiser staffers rallied in 2017 to “Save Hawaii News.” The newspaper company has been suffering financial losses for years. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2017)
“If he buys it, he thinks he’s got a way to make it work,” said Stickney, who worked for Carpenter as editor of The Port Arthur News in Texas from 2017 to 2019.

Carpenter did not respond to requests for comment.

Current employees aren’t convinced. In a press release issued on Monday, the Star-Advertiser union noted that news of the pending sale, which has been widely rumored for months, came just days after the newspaper announced it was laying off four newsroom employees, including longtime photographer Cindy Ellen Russell.

“These losses and the continued lack of transparency have deeply hurt newsroom morale,” the release said.

In an interview, Kevin Knodell, a staff writer who serves as the paper’s union unit chair, said the staff has been especially frustrated the paper’s publisher, Dennis Francis, has refused to communicate with them except through news releases and letters.

“We’ve never heard directly from Dennis,” he said.

In a letter to Francis signed by more than 40 editorial staffers from the company’s various papers, employees expressed their concern that experienced local journalists would be sidelined and their apprehension over a new owner.

“We deserve to know who these buyers are and what their intentions are for the largest media
organization in Hawaii,” they wrote. “The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is the paper of record for Hawaii, and OPI’s other papers more broadly make up the majority of the newspaper industry for all of the islands. Whoever takes on the company takes on that kuleana. And there has perhaps never been a more critical time to ensure that we maintain well staffed, well resourced newsrooms to serve our communities.”

/
asking forbearance from the 4 paragraph rule because this article contains many one-sentence paragraphs, and we are at very significant risk from the impending change.

January 10, 2024

On persuasion of our friends and fam on the right.

There is no amount of money in the world that can buy enough tv ads between now and Nov 2024 to get this work done.

So we have a responsibility to engage where we have politely ignored radical anti-American thought in prior years, for years, to preserve our own relationships and equilibrium.

I finally found out why it is so hard to to change their minds in the face of so much evidence. Listening to Andrew Huberman's podcast (as I often do,) his guest Dr Conti explained that emotion trumps logic every time. Link at the bottom of post (hint- if the ads bug you, it's better on the podcast, sponsors' messages up front and at the end only.)

One example he gave was that it is irrational to run into a burning building- but if one's loved ones were in the building? People do so all the time.

Anyway.

Dr Conti explained that cognition and emotion fire in completely different parts of the brain. There are a biological bases for the problem we face persuading these people.

So to engage actual thinking when they are deep in the emotion, we have to reach the emotion through thinking. I'm not explaining this really well...when time allows I may find the transcript and share it here.

The right wing and their apologists are not conservative. There is nothing conservative about trump. He is antidemocratic, authoritarian, anti-conservative, and is trying to burn down the treasure of democracy that our family bled for over 248 years. We are now tasked with the granular and tedious work of raising questions in the minds of our fam and friends, one by one, causing them to think through some of what they think they know.


Here is a good start...
https://thebigtruthbook.com

?si=HUFz30J-6QoC0hVY
?si=CbGEN8sgYFnO9L-k

With love. Always with love.If not love, then with kindness, and always with a vision of reconciliation and grace in mind.

Wishing you courage and aloha. It's about what is right, not who is right.
?si=CtComxRPYMkxmYiN
May 30, 2023

Who's listening to Dan Pfeiffer's audiobook (or reading) Un-Trumping America:

A Plan to Make America A Democracy Again?

Pod Save America listeners will recognize Dan Pfeiffer as one of the crooked media squad.

He served during Barrack Obama’s first presidential campaign through 6 years in the Oval Office, traveling with the President, as deputy communication head and the top communication aide, often refining and chiming in at critical points. He encouraged Barrack in his instinct to stay on message against the RW and donor /pac pressures.


A phenomenal look back into what we all just went through from the nerve center, and a comprehensive overview into the massive changes that our organizing systems have not caught up with at all.


Also what must be done!

Some things I learned: people who run communications for campaigns usually get a cut of the TV ad buy, so *that’s* why we keep getting solicited for money to run TV commercials when they clearly are not going to reach the majority of 18-35 year old demo that we know we must win.

December 5, 2022

I've always thought that people are basically good mostly everywhere

That when you scratch the surface of Americans you would find we care about children, we care about our neighbors, our communities, we care about kids’ futures - not just our own kids but everybody’s kids.

I always thought our hearts were good and people were kind mostly. I still hold on to that idea.

But it is dinged up more than a bit by the 30% /x of this country on the extreme right. If I ever have to leave the islands I’d always thought I’d find a nice quiet neighborhood in America. Now I’m not so sure.

Is the meanness we are reading about and watching something that you see changing people where you are, or are they still mostly kind?

November 29, 2022

All across this country people who voted Republican their whole lives are trying to figure out

What is next. They are thinking about us and thinking about the nutballs, measuring us v them to figure out where to make their home.

We’ve been told for a really long time there’s no point talking to people who are past persuading. there was a time that that made sense to me too but it doesn’t anymore.

With the head full of lies they’ve been told about us for the last several years and making these decisions with that information largely. One thing you can do to help us is to be kind and hold a space for them. None of us are right all the time. We’ve all made mistakes and almost all of us deserve forgiveness. Try not to rub it in if you can. Try to make space for civil discussion and help them find common ground.

On my part I think it will help me to think about where the wingers went way off the rails as far as our values as Americans. I’ll start there.

November 28, 2022

Natural hazards on the Big Island- understanding rift zones

https://hilo.hawaii.edu/natural-hazards/volcanoes/riftzones.php?fbclid=IwAR1izEnmstDhdXg5KFFttI1juk_C4DMG3r7YQrthq6DgZNXBtsjuTW4cieo
These two maps help make sense out of the eruption news.

Most eruptions originate at the summits and rift zones of Hualālai, Maunaloa , and Kīlauea. Rift zones are areas where the volcano is rifting or splitting apart. The rock in a rift zone has many cracks and is relatively weak, and thus it is easiest for magma to make its way to the surface through these rift zones. Once at the surface, the lava flows downhill, following local topography. Like water, lava seeks the path of least resistance. Areas downhill of rift zones are more likely to be covered by future lava flows than areas on extinct volcanoes. The U.S. Geological Survey provides lava flow hazard maps via the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

November 25, 2022

We have seen this threat before. Rachel Maddow's podcast Ultra tells the story

Of America First. Illuminating, riveting, and if we are smart, instructive.

It’s as if the invisible forces who cultivated the Lauren Boberts and EmptyGs of our era studied this history. I’m persuaded they did. The circus like tactics, the profoundly cynical and anti-American beliefs cloaked in the flag are all too familiar. If you haven’t listened yet, please do. Wherever you listen to podcasts. If you don’t this is a good reason to start.
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rachel-maddow-presents-ultra/id1647910854

November 23, 2022

Debt: The First 5,000 years. David Graeber talk at Google 2012

David has since passed.
Great to hear him again, though.

November 9, 2022

Seth Abramson on the unlikelihood of replacing Twitter as an effective progressive thought center

Seth wrote the Proof series, Proof of Collusion, Proof of Corruption and Proof of Conspiracy. Read his Substack if you don’t like Twitter.
https://www.sethabramson.net/
https://democraticunderground.com/100217325136
I’m not doing to respond to those who dislike Twitter because I have windmills to go tilt. I think this bears some thought here. Aloha everyone.

Seth Abramson
We mustn’t forget how many years it took for Twitter to become the nation’s political water cooler. Every media outlet is here; every politician is here; every journalist is here; every pundit is here. Don’t fool yourself: it’d take any other site over a decade to become Twitter.

PS/ I understand folks having accounts elsewhere. I do too; I’m on Substack (at both PROOF and RETRO), Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and now even Mastodon. But I’d be deceiving myself if I thought any of those sites will *ever* hold a candle to what political Twitter is right now.
PS2/ Yes—Elon Musk is a petulant manchild who is wreaking havoc on Twitter right now. But things *will* settle down here. And I do not want to let a conservative troll like Musk break up what is currently the best gathering place in the world for progressive voters and politicos.
PS3/ While I don’t think it was his purpose, the fact remains that if Musk manages to scatter America’s progressives across 10+ websites with a tiny fraction of Twitter’s usability and audience—Tribel Social, Counter Social, Mastodon, Blue Sky et. al.—the far right will have won.

PS4/ And what is strangest of all to me is the normally savvy political people I know on here who seem to honestly believe that what Twitter is for American progressives can be recreated anywhere else in under a decade.

That’s simply not how digital communities form or function.
PS5/ Right now I see only one medium-term danger for Twitter: that the real plan Musk had for giving everyone a checkmark is to start over the process of identifying who’s a public figure, with it now being mostly *conservatives*—affecting how the platform works for progressives.
PS6/ If Musk were acting in good faith—which thus far he clearly has not been—he would have issued a secondary “public figure” notation to all those (432,000 people in all) who are *currently* verified before allowing anonymous users to be verified without identifying themselves.
PS7/ But I’m not convinced that content moderation here is going to change much long-term. I think users will continue to be able to use Twitter for free if they choose to. I think monetization options will continue to be subtle *enough* that they don’t much distract from the UX.
PS8/ Mastodon is confusing as hell and run by just one person. Other non-Twitter options equally have major Achilles heels. Twitter became what it is because it is generally speaking elegantly designed, incredibly usable, and the *consensus pick* of tens of millions of Americans.
PS9/ No one anywhere needs to take my advice (obviously). But my candid advice would be to stay on Twitter and use Twitter primarily unless and until the site literally falls apart—which at this point I think any expert would tell you there is a less than 10% chance of happening.
PS10/ But I’ll also make a prediction: given that the neo-Nazis already have Gab, Parler, GTTR, Truth Social, and even—let’s admit it—the political quadrant of Facebook, if progressives now cede *Twitter* to them and then scatter to the wind, it will be a major blow to democracy.
• • •

November 6, 2022

Timothy Snyder on Ukraine, costs and preserving security. Must be read.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1589260108537610240.html

I have tried to paste the whole over and over and can not. It won’t. You’ll need to click the link. I understand the hesitancy. I feel it often here too. It’s the unrolled Twitter thread from Timothy Snyder, promise.

Midway:

Timothy Snyder

@TimothyDSnyder
·
8h
The Ukrainians have reduced the possibility of Chinese aggression through Russia, and made direct Chinese aggression less likely. They have done all of this just by defending themselves, without making any move against China. 7/

Timothy Snyder

@TimothyDSnyder
·
8h
Without the Ukrainians, the United States would lack the policy instruments for this. By resisting, Ukrainians created an opportunity for U.S. policy that would not otherwise have existed. 8/


Timothy Snyder

@TimothyDSnyder
·
8h
No American lives have been placed at risk. U.S. assistance to Ukraine amounts to a rounding error in the defense budget. 9/


Timothy Snyder

@TimothyDSnyder
·
8h
The gains Ukrainian resistance brings to American security are so enormous that the US national security establishment is embarrassed to speak of them directly. 10/

Timothy Snyder

@TimothyDSnyder
·
8h
It is awkward to say that another country is doing so much for us. It is awkward to say that Ukrainian resistance has done more for the safety of Americans than any U.S. policy since the end of the cold war. But it is true and must be said. 11/


Timothy Snyder

@TimothyDSnyder
·
8h
Reversing the U.S. policy of aiding Ukraine will undo all of these gains. There is still time to revive Russia and reassure China, which is what ending support of Ukraine will mean. Such a policy reversal would make Americans far less safe and secure. 12/


Timothy Snyder

@TimothyDSnyder
·
8h
My concerns about the Russian invasion of Ukraine are the prevention of genocide and the defense of democracy. But those who think first of U.S. interests should acknowledge what Ukrainians are doing for American security. The least we can do is be on our own side 13/13

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Honolulu
Home country: ka pae aina Hawai'i
Current location: Honolulu
Member since: Sun Aug 24, 2003, 12:51 AM
Number of posts: 17,939
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