The Future of Print

U.S. law chief open to antitrust aid for newspapers | Deals | Mergers & Acquisitions | Reuters

Posted in Boom by futureofprint on March 19, 2009

WASHINGTON, March 18 Reuters – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday preserving a healthy newspaper industry was important and he was open to adjusting antitrust policy if it could help.

“I’d like to think 20, 30, 40 years from now people will still be reading the newspaper,” Holder told reporters.

He was responding to a call by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging the Justice Department to give newspapers more leeway to merge or combine operations.

The industry is reeling from declining circulation, economic recession and a shift in advertising and reader attention to online media. Venerable newspapers have closed or — such as the Hearst Corp’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer this week — gone to Internet-only editions with reduced staff.

“I think it’s important for this nation to maintain a healthy newspaper industry. So to the extent that we have to look at our enforcement policies and conform them to the realities that that industry faces, that’s something that I’m going to be willing to do,” Holder said.

Some struggling newspapers in multiple-newspaper cities have limited antitrust immunity under the 1970 Newspaper Preservation Act, allowing them to combine business activities while maintaining separate news operations.

Via Reuters

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