Sunday, April 29, 2007

Now MediaNews is threatening to sue Reilly

MediaNews Group President Jody Lodovic (seen here on the left with chief executive Dean Singleton) on Friday accused Clint Reilly of misrepresenting the terms of the settlement of his antitrust suit against the chain and may sue him for breaching a confidentiality clause in the agreement. On Saturday, Reilly's attorney, Joe Alioto, told E&P that it's MediaNews that is spinning the agreement for its own internal political reasons.

The post-settlement dispute began when Alioto said on Wednesday that the settlement will keep alive several MediaNews papers which were "headed for the graveyard." Alioto said the agreement requires Singleton to keep open his papers in Oakland, Fremont, San Mateo, Hayward and Marin County. "There was pretty strong evidence those papers were going to go out," Alioto said. "By reason of our agreement, I think, they'll stay alive, at least for three years."

Lodovic told E&P that Alioto's comments were absurd and that the attorney had no basis for him to comment on the viability of those newspapers.

On Saturday, Alioto repeated his argument that the settlement was key to the survival of those papers, but he added: “I wasn’t trying to suggest, and I wouldn’t try to suggest, those papers are going to be closed up ... The very reason we stopped where we did was (so) ... that couldn’t happen.”

E&P broke down the terms of the settlement and gave each side's interpretation of what those terms mean. For instance, about Alioto's claim that Reilly will get free editorial space, Lodovic said it is paid space, amounting to prefrential positioning once a week. Reilly said that in negotiations MediaNews said it will send him Reilly a bill, but that Reilly can throw it away.

Regarding the placement of Reilly or those he picks to be on the editorial board of MediaNews papers, Lovovic said and Alioto confirmed that all editorial board additions requires the approval of the individual paper's editor. (Photo credit: MediaNews Group Web page)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that MediaNews is probably trying to manipulate the terms of the settlement to their advantage because it is clear too me that they are trying to fight off competition to their newspapers (ad dollars) through non-competitive behavior.

I run a small (but fast growing) website called and we were told this week by a manager at the San Jose Mercury News that we could not advertise in their paper because we are competing media. They are afraid of little old us and our super niche that we cater to on the internet. Yes we sell ads on our site, but so does Google ... MediaNews has no problem providing Google with free advertising in the form of non-stop publicity. Every time Google launches a new service on their site, the Mercury News runs a full blown article about it. Yet they are not allowing me to pay them to promote my website in their paper.