Stribits: invasion of the tire-kickers

I fully acknowledge I’m getting to the dregs of this week’s Strib-finances frenzy, but I’m a media reporter and readers seem attuned to the moment.

Remember the Star Tribune’s downtown Minneapolis land? The ample asset Vikes owner Zygi Wilf almost bought for $45 million? A stretch of sweet, sweet topsoil that can ease the pain of diminished cash flow?

The Strib put it back on the market in January, and now, according to a company memo, the tire-kicking has begun in earnest. Facilities tours began Tuesday, and employees were alerted today that “there will be others over the next few weeks as interested parties come forward.”

The memo adds, “We will make every effort to ensure that the tours do not interfere with work operations.”

Naw, no way will a roomful of anxious journalists be distracted by strangers measuring the drapes.

It’ll be interesting to see if anything close to a bidding war erupts for the property.

A separate internal communication should interest bankruptcy vultures: The Strib is steaming ahead with some nontrivial tech purchases. The company plans to replace all company laptops and desktops by September, an avoidable expense if you’re flipping the keys or boarding up the doors.

Nice set-ups, too — Dell desktops with 22-inch monitors, though the 14.1-inch laptop displays indicate no one’s going widescreen yet.

This is deep in computer-nerdland, but there’s also a sure-to-be-spendy and hair-raising transition from Novell Groupwise e-mail to Microsoft Exchange, a Novell-to-Microsoft inventory/distribution/configuration system switch, and upgrades from Office 2000 to Office 2007. (Close-circuit to Stribites: Get to know “ribbons”!)

While I’m sure these aren’t the priciest tech items, the buying spree underscores the company’s ongoing claim to invest in “growth areas,” especially on the web, even as they cut elsewhere. If nothing else, it’s easier for the troops to stitch together that videoblog on a 22-inch screen.

By the way, Vista-haters will also be pleased to know the company is initially eschewing Microsoft’s kludgy operating system. Now if only the paper’s kludgy balance sheet comes around.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by B Maginnis on 05/08/2008 - 09:53 am.

    “Naw, no way will a roomful of anxious journalists be distracted by strangers measuring the drapes”.

    Is everybody employed there a “journalist”?

    Wouldn’t the real “journalists” be out on the streets, say, oh I don’t know, REPORTING?

    Is Sid a “journalist”?

    Karen Youso?

    What about the ad salespeople? The circulation staffers? Are they allowed to be “nervous”?

    This obsession with “journalists”, whatever that term encompasses these days, as if they are the only ones that “count” at 425 Portland, is highly annoying.

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