This story appears as part of the Daily Nexus’ 2007 April Fools’ issue.
In a surprise move yesterday, Santa Barbara News-Press owner and co-publisher Wendy McCaw sold her embattled newspaper to the highest bidder – PennySaver, Co.
America’s largest publisher of coupons and advertising supplements agreed late last night to purchase the News-Press for an undisclosed amount, possibly in coupon form. The sale shocked industry analysts and the newspaper’s employees who had assumed McCaw would hold firm to her refusal to give up the paper, despite nine tumultuous months of firings, resignations and lawsuits.
PennySaver President and CEO Richard Hochhauser, who will become publisher of the newly named News-PennySaver tomorrow, said he will strive to restore integrity and savings to the 150-year old daily paper.
“I see it as my duty to the people of Santa Barbara and the noble profession of journalism to turn this paper around,” Hochhauser said. “Never again will management impose its will on the newsroom, and never again will readers be left without the right to clip great coupons for already inexpensive products.”
Hochhauser released a memo last night outlining his plan for the paper’s future. The memo included proposals to reinstate all fired employees, dramatically increase circulation, and replace the local news section with advertising supplements.
“Instead of forcing another blasŽ weather story, or quarter-page picture of a sunset or an ugly dog or something onto our readers, we’ve decided that they’d really enjoy an advertising supplement more,” Hochhauser said. “We’re hoping to meet the expectations of readers who already assume the News-Press doesn’t provide any worthwhile content.”
Newsroom employees initially balked at the suggested changes before slowly drifting into a deep depression. No strikes have been planned.
The new management will formally announce the change in ownership and title tomorrow in a front-page advertisement titled “The Truth Behind the New Owners at the Santa Barbara News-PennySaver.”