Competition brewing in Milwaukee? p. 15

By: Mark Fitzgerald WHEN A CITY first learns it is about to become just another one-paper town, you can bet someone will emerge with plans to launch a competing daily.
It happened in Kansas City.
It happened ? twice ? in St. Louis.
And even in Detroit ? which kept its two dailies but ended financial competition ? a group of auto dealers angered about ad rate increases threw together a business plan to launch a newspaper.
Not surprisingly, then, a similar group has emerged in the wake of the announcement that the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel will merge on April 2.
A group of Milwaukee entrepreneurs filed incorporation papers Jan. 25 for a venture that will explore the possibility of starting a new paper.
Among the members of the group are Lori Balistreri from the family that owns the Sendik grocery store chain in Milwaukee. Others include political consultant Lee Leichentritt and suburban businesswoman Bonnie Dick.
Leichentritt said the group has been talking with possible journalists and has tentatively lined up a printer.
Still, a second Milwaukee newspaper is far from a sure thing, Leichentritt said. So far, the group has yet to draw up a business plan and has no real idea how much money would be needed.
Journal/Sentinel Inc. officials discount the idea that they will face daily newspaper competition.
Even before this group emerged, the company dismissed the possibility of a second paper in a question-and-answer fact sheet released to employees when the merger was announced Jan. 17.
"It is very unlikely that a new daily newspaper would enter our market," the sheet states.
"There has been no successful startup of a new newspaper, morning or afternoon, in a major market in at least the last two decades.
"Anyone who attempted to start a new daily newspaper in our market would be faced with the same factors that we do. They would incur substantial costs and would virtually have no hope of financial success," the company statement said.


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