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Koch brothers interested in Orlando Sentinel parent Tribune Co.


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I came across this the other day and thought it was interesting and relevant since it will affect our local paper, The Orlando Sentinel. 


From the NY Times:  


Conservative Koch Brothers Turning Focus to Newspapers




And the Washington Post (about the La times, but you could probably make the same case for the Sentinel):

What would the Koch brothers do to the Los Angeles Times?


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Remember that the Koch brothers also own Georgia Pacific, which makes paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels.  Now, I don't know if newsprint could be made from the same sources of paper, but it is something that could be transitioned I'm sure.  Also, buying Tribune would completely be a media controlling venture.  Hearts and minds.  Say it and it's true (for most sheeple).

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I would have to say that I believe that the reason they would be interested in the Tribune Co would be to push their political agenda....esp since newspapers are supposed to be a dying business. I cant imagine them looking at this purchase as a profit making venture.  

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This is purely a political move on the Koch's part if they are interested in Tribune. They're definitely not going to make much money off the papers themselves, but the influence the papers have over policy and public opinion is the big 'get' here. Tribune papers, including the Sentinel, historically have been conservative. It wasn't until the 2008 election that the Sentinel and Chicago Tribune endorsed a Democrat for president in more than 50 years.


With all the cuts that have happened with newsroom in the last 5 years (Sentinel down to about 150 from a peak of more than 350 editorial staff), I think everyone is desperate, and I hope they don't made the same mistake when they got in bed with Sam Zell.


One aspect of this sale that would be of interest to the armchair urban planners on Urban Planet is the valuable real estate all of the papers sit on in their urban cores. The Sentinel occupies two whole city blocks at the intersection of Main and Main and is looking horribly underutilized in light of what's happening on the Pizutti block and Uptown. The blocks would probably require major cleanup as a brownfield site, but any buyer should probably move the printing presses in a more industrial part of town and develop the land with more modern mixed-use of office and residential properties.


The New York Times did a similar thing with their new building across from Port Authority, and they occupy less than half of the 52-story tower. The rest filled up easily with law firms and other companies that wouldn't mind the Times as a neighbor and landlord. The Sentinel is perfectly positioned for a similar setup on a smaller scale because of the close proximity to the county and federal courthouses. I think if Sam Zell had been able to hold onto Tribune, we would have seen major redevelopment of all the Tribune properties, including Tribune Tower in Chicago.

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  • 4 months later...

Just an update for history's sake: a number of outlets have reported the Koch brothers have decided not to pursue the purchase of the Tribune newspapers. While the owner of the LA Dodgers is expressing an interest in the LA Times and perhaps the flagship Chicago Tribune, there is no word so far on a possible buyer for the Orlando Sentinel.


Meanwhile, the Orlando Weekly is also reporting itself up for sale. The Weekly has, on occasion, had some remarkable in-depth reporting on the going on at City Hall, although of late it has concentrated more on entertainment news. Columnist Billy Manes, who briefly engaged in a mayoral campaign when Buddy Dyer had to briefly step down due to an election scandal, continues to reflect the anti-Establishment POV when covering City Hall stories and provides a useful counterpoint to mainstream coverage from the Sentinel and OBJ. Let's hope they find a buyer interested in more than just fluff.



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