Pioneer Press owner announces Chapter 11 bankruptcy gambit


Affiliated Media, whose MediaNews Group bought the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 2006, has announced its intention to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but says the move will have no impact on the day-to-day operations of the PiPress or any of its other daily newspapers, which number more than 50.

In a statement, the company said that, unlike other recent media company reorganizations, this one does not involve its newspaper operations, nor will it have any effect on employees or vendors of the newspapers. Only the holding company will restructure.

Under the terms of the deal, which the company says its lenders have already approved, senior lenders will swap debt for an equity stake in the company. If everything goes as planned, the debt would drop from $930 million to $165 million, and there would be no change in management or control of the company.

We'll see if any of this impacts the Pioneer Press newsroom in the long run. Meantime, Mike Klingensmith, a Fridley kid who once drove a cab in the Twin Cities before heading for the bright lights of big time New York City, was named the Star Tribune's new publisher last week.

He joined the paper after its recent emergence from bankruptcy, a series of layoffs, an ongoing struggle to find new footing in a fragmented media marketplace, and departure of its last publisher, Chris Harte, in the fall.