Another bad omen for the Pi Press?

The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce certainly sounds pleased as punch over the impending acquisition of the Pioneer Press by the Denver-based Media News Group. As a general principle, such giddiness among business folk should alarm working stiffs. But for Pi Press staffers, there are more substantial reasons for nervousness than mere class bias. Despite his recent image makeover, Media News chieftain "Lean" Dean Singleton retains a reputation as a ferocious cost-cutter; with the considerable debt incurred by his spending spree on various Knight Ridder properties, it's a fair bet he'll be more focused than ever on the bottom line when he finally assumes control of the Pi Press this summer. Additionally, the financial performance of Media News has been underwhelming of late. According to this report from the San Jose Mercury News, the privately held company reports losses of $3.6 million in the first quarter of 2006. That compares to a $2.3 profit in the same quarter in 2005.