Brutal commentary on unions by Pi-Press owner's CEO

Media News CEO Dean Singleton just gave a

brutal speech

in Sweden in which he said 19 of the top 50 newspapers in America are bleeding money:

"That number will continue to grow," MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton said at the World Newspaper Congress last week. "The large metros are the hardest hit by change, and they're the most difficult to change. Too many whining editors, reporters and newspaper unions continue to bark at the dark, thinking their barks will make the night go away. They fondly remember the past as if it will suddenly re-appear and the staffing in newsrooms will suddenly begin to grow again. Well, as a former journalist, I also wish for the past, but it's not coming back."

If you're reading that at the McClatchy-owned Pioneer Press, it's gotta send a chill up your spine. The Strib has been stripped ... is the Pi-Press next?

One bright side: Online revenue is up in St. Paul:

This year, we’ll generate 89% of total revenue from our core, 7% from online and 4% from new products.

On operating cash flow, we currently generate 73% from core, 22% from online and 5% from niche products.

In five years or 2012, we expect 68% of revenue to come from core, 20% from online and 12% from niche.

On operating cash flow, our goal in 2012 is 40% from core, 50% from online and 10% from niche.

That would be a great business, one that investors would applaud.

How realistic is this? Quite so, I believe. In Salt Lake City and St. Paul, our online operating cash flow is approaching 30% of total today. Salt Lake online revenue is more than 10% of total. And niche revenue is 15% of total, ahead of our 2012 goal. Quite different than 5 years ago, when Salt Lake online revenue was ½ of a % of total and online losses were considerable.

(Via Romenesko)

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