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As Star Tribune exits bankruptcy, is new board member’s company going into it?

On the day that the Star Tribune took a big step out of bankruptcy comes news that a new board member’s media corporation may be headed into it.
By David Brauer

Ah, coincidence.

On the day that the Star Tribune took a big step out of bankruptcy comes news that a brand-new board member’s media company may be headed into it.

Earlier this month, GateHouse Media CEO Michael Reed was named as one of the Strib’s four new board members. Thursday, Moody’s Investor Services downgraded GateHouse’s credit rating and said a bankruptcy filing “may represent the optimal solution” for survival, according to Editor & Publisher’s Mark Fitzgerald. GateHouse didn’t immediately comment.

A few days ago, I asked former Pioneer Press managing editor and current industry analyst Ken Doctor about Reed’s fitness to advise the Strib, given the GateHouse’s troubles.

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“I think that’s immaterial,” Doctor replied, citing Reed’s “experience in operating efficiencies” — in other words, cost-cutting — as “key” to his Strib role.

Still, Doctor did offer this caveat: “Gatehouse intended efficiencies worked on multiple properties, clustered basis, which is little use to single-property company” like the Strib.

It’s only fair to note Reed has broader industry involvement: He sits on the board of the Associated Press and Newspaper Association of America.