Analyst Wonders Why Ridder Hasn't Stepped Down

By: Jennifer Saba "I'm surprised [Par Ridder] hasn't stepped down already," Ken Doctor, an affiliate analyst with Outsell Research, told E&P.

Doctor was a managing editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press who left the paper in 1997. He never worked directly with Ridder, the former publisher of the Pioneer Press, who jumped across the river to head up the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. But Doctor is familiar enough with the competitive situation.

And he thinks the fact that Ridder took competitive information could spring a well of legal, not to mention ethical, issues.

"To have a publisher admit he did something that wasn't right at the helm during particularly difficult time" is not good for the paper, said Doctor. "You don't get a do-over for ethics in the journalism business."

The Star Tribune is suffering from the same environment that other major metros are facing throughout the country -- declining print ad revenue and circulation. So for Ridder to take advertising rates raises legal questions, Doctor explained.

Doctor said the Star Tribune needs to push into St. Paul territory in order to grow. "The Star Tribune is in an usual situation where there is an affluent metro market next door," Doctor said adding that in the past the Tribune has tried to out-price the Pioneer Press. "Given that, every move they make will be suspect and open to litigation."

It doesn't help that the litigation is occurring in court located in Ramsey County in St. Paul. "Those things matter," said Doctor.


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