TULSA WORLD AND THE TULSA TRIBUNE TO END 50 YEAR JOINT OPERATING AGREEMENT
TULSA WORLD AND THE TULSA TRIBUNE TO END 50 YEAR JOINT OPERATING AGREEMENT TULSA, Okla., July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- World Publishing Co. and
Tulsa Tribune Co., publishers of the Tulsa World and The Tulsa Tribune,
respectively, today announced that they have agreed n the method
and terms of ending their Joint Operating Agreement ("JOA") under
which the two newspapers have been operating since 1941.
The JOA, under which each newspaper maintains separate editorial and
news functions but combines business functions, such as printing,
distribution and advertising sales, is specifically permitted under
federal law pursuant to the Newspaper Preservation Act ("NPA"). Under
the NPA, amendments must be filed with the Justice Department. The
effectiveness of the agreement is subject to approval by the Board of
Directors of T/SF Communications.
The announcement of the agreement was made jointly by G. Douglas
Fox, Chairman of Tulsa Tribune Co. and chairman and chief executive
officer of T/SF Communications Corp., and Robert E. Lorton, President of
World Publishing Company. In making the announcement, Messrs. Fox and
Lorton noted that the number of towns which can support two competing
daily papers continues to shrink as new media claim an ever-increasing
share of advertising dollars from traditional mass media, such as
newspapers. Because of the erosion of evening newspaper readership in
recent years, The Tribune remains the only large-city evening paper in
the American Midwest between the Canadian border and Houston. Evening
papers have ceased publication in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minn.; Des
Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; Kansas City, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis,
Memphis, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Little Rock, Ark.; Shreveport, La., and
New Orleans. Also, joint operating arrangements under the NPA have
recently been terminated in Shreveport, Miami and Knoxville, Tenn.
The Tulsa Tribune plans to cease its separate publication on
Sept. 30, 1992, and the JOA will terminate under the Agreement. As a
result of the termination of the agreement, Tulsa Tribune Co. will
immediately receive $11,500,000 from World Publishing Co. The World
will also pay Tribune $450,000 each month for 41 months beginning
November, 1992. In addition, the JOA will be dissolved and the net
proceeds distributed 40 percent to Tribune and 60 percent to World. As
part of this transaction, Tribune will transfer to World its interest in
its presses and other newspaper related assets. The JOA was
scheduled to terminate on March 31, 1996, pursuant to a notice of
termination delivered today by World to Tribune as allowed by the
Jenk Jones Jr., editor and publisher of The Tulsa Tribune, stated:
"Since the JOA would not be extended, the resultant agreement to
terminate the publication of The Tribune makes economic sense.
Unfortunately, it will cost Tulsa newspaper readers the variety of
opinions, observations and stories that competitive journalism provides.
And it deprives them of the work of the top award-winning writers,
photographers and editors. We are deeply saddened for the sake of our
remarkably talented staff and for the impact upon the city."
Jenkin Lloyd Jones, publisher emeritus of The Tribune, added: "We,
the editors, are proud that because of the work and dedication of our
staff, the loss of Tribune circulation was substantially less than the
loss of subscribers in the other major evening newspapers of mid-America
that have ceased publication. As one who has been on the payroll for 59
years, I salute our people. And this includes the sub-editors and desk
personnel who operate out of the public eye but are essential to
a quality publication."
Robert E. Lorton, president of World Publishing Co. and publisher of
the Tulsa World, stated: "This is not a day of celebration. All of us
at the World join in mourning the loss of the news and editorial voice
of The Tulsa Tribune. The Tribune and the Lloyd Jones family have
contributed much to our city. Unfortunately, economic reality must
override sentiment and, on that basis, this transaction is clearly in
the best interest of both parties. We at the Tulsa World are mindful of
the responsibility this puts on us to continue to provide the high
quality of journalism and the diversity of thought that both the
World and Tribune have brought to Tulsa."
Fox said, "When it became clear that the JOA would end in 1996, it
was incumbent upon us to face the future realistically. For us to
continue in the partnership arrangement would have been akin to a couple
agreeing to live together for 3 1/2 years after deciding to get a
divorce. Other realities that we had to face were that maintaining a
quality staff and quality product would have been increasingly
difficult. Importantly, we also have a responsibility to maximize value
for the benefit of our stockholders. This transaction allows us to be
fair with those most hurt by this agreement - the newsroom and editorial
staff of The Tribune - and have the economic wherewithal to continue to
build our company for success in the future."
Howard G. Barnett, Jr., president of Tulsa Tribune Co., explained
that, although The Tribune, because of its high quality had fared better
than most afternoon newspapers in fighting trends toward morning and
Sunday readership and the general decline of newspaper readers, it
nevertheless was affected by those trends. Barnett stated, "Any evening
daily newspaper without a Sunday edition competing with a morning daily
paper faces extreme difficulties as a separate operation in today's
highly competitive media environment. While the loss of The Tribune
cannot truly be measured in dollars, this agreement is fair to both
parties and we know that Tulsa will be well served by the even stronger
Tulsa World which will exist after this agreement is effective."
Ken Fleming, General Manager of Newspaper Printing Corp., the
business agent for Tribune and World under the JOA, noted the Tribune
subscriptions would be honored by delivering the Tulsa World to Tribune
subscribers after the agreement was effective. Fleming added, "In this
way, we will also be able to meet our commitment to our advertisers to
deliver for them the readers jointly served by Tribune and World.
Unlike a termination under the existing JOA, this agreement will
allow us to have an orderly transition for both readers and
advertisers so that the World and Newspaper Printing Corp. can continue
to serve their needs without interruption or loss to them."
Tulsa Tribune Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of T/SF
Communications Corp. (AMEX: TCM); T/SF Communications, in turn, is a
72 percent owned subsidiary of tribune/Swab-Fox Cos. Inc.
-0- 7/31/92 /CONTACT: G. Douglas Fox of T/SF Communications, 918-747-2600/ (TCM)
CO: T/SF Communications
RM -- SF005 -- 5639 07/31/92 13:33 EDT
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|Date:||Jul 31, 1992|
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