SBD/Issue 163/Sports Media

How Will Cablevision's Acquisition Of Newsday Affect Coverage?

Some Question Whether Acquisition By Cablevision
Will Change Newsday's Coverage Of Dolan
Cablevision Monday agreed to purchase Newsday from Tribune Co. for $650M, and Newsday Editor John Mancini said that he was "not worried" that MSG Chair James Dolan "will dictate how [the] Knicks or Rangers are covered and thus diminish the paper's reputation," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. By acquiring Newsday, perhaps "all Dolan wants is a vehicle to cross-promote Cablevision products and he will not dictate the direction of the editorial product." But Sandomir writes Dolan is "not a man of half-measures or indifference." How will Dolan react when the Newsday sports staff "flays his Knicks or Rangers? Will Dolan the sports mogul kill a column or restrict a columnist's access if he or she is negative or caustic?" Stony Brook Univ. School of Journalism Dean Howard Schneider, a former Newsday Editor, said, "If there is any overt attempt by the Dolans to control coverage, it will demonstrate that this deal is a total failure." Newsday columnist Ken Berger said, "We can't expect special access or special treatment when we cover people who own us. And they shouldn't operate under the presumption that they can influence us." Newsday columnist Johnette Howard added, "I asked if we have to drop a line into stories that says, 'The Knicks, who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday'" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/14).

IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM ... : HUFFINGTONPOST.com's Marvin Kitman, a former Newsday columnist, wrote perhaps the "most important reason for buying Newsday is to get the paper to stop all the criticism on the sports pages about the way [Dolan] has been running the Knicks into the ground. Not to mention the Rangers and [MSG]." With the acquisition of Newsday, there is "one less newspaper to harp on all the mistakes Jim Dolan has made in mismanagement, misfeasance and malfeasance in running the New York market's beloved franchises" (HUFFINGTONPOST.com, 5/13).

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