David Lipman, chairman of Pulitzer Publishing Co., joked that the acronym really stands for "Prevent Alligators from Eating Our Toes."
Lipman spoke with other PAFET members at the recent Interactive Newspapers '95 in Dallas, a conference sponsored by the Kelsey Group, Editor & Publisher Co., and the International Newspaper Marketing Association.
PAFET members are diversified media companies with holdings that span the United States, said Lipman.
The six PAFET members hold seven of the top 50 newspapers in the U.S. in circulation.
"In broadcasting, Belo, the Dallas Morning News, is the 17th largest television group in the United States, and Pulitzer is the 18th largest," Lipman said.
"As a newspaper group, in revenues and circulation, PAFET is the second largest in the United States," said Lipman. "Only Gannett is larger. We topped Knight-Ridder.
"Now, remember, we are a rather loose ? if legal ? affiliation, but, still, if you look at our total size, we rank very high on the table. In fact, as a media company, we are the eighth largest media company in the United States."
In addition to the Pulitzer Publishing Company, with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), PAFET member companies include the A.H. Belo Corporation with the Morning News; Central Newspapers Inc. (CNI) with Indianapolis Newspapers Inc. and Phoenix Newspapers Inc.; Cowles Media Company with the Minneapolis Star Tribune; Freedom Communications Inc. with the Orange County Register; and McClatchy Newspapers Inc. with the Sacramento Bee.
"As you see, we are something of a mixed group," Lipman said, "and I sometimes think that just being able to get along without coming to fisticuffs ? which we've come close to on occasion ? is an accomplishment in itself."
The group has spent the last year or so since it was formed working out organizational details, according to Lipman. Indeed, aside from "just being able to get along," the panel offered no concrete accomplishments or plans of any kind, which seemed to frustrate some audience members.
Of course, PAFET's achievements need not be much heralded to be significant. Lipman couched the goals of PAFET in limited terms:
"Simply stated, our mission is to assist individual member companies in the development of mechanisms for presentation and marketing of information using new technologies. The goal is to help our companies make better individual decisions concerning the future of our business. We don't intend to be an operating company, but rather we're gathered together to provide information, to gather, assess, evaluate, what's going on in new technologies throughout the United States and the world . . . . "
What does "an information-gathering, assessment and intellectual partnership" do? Lipman did not specify, nor did any other PAFET representative. Suffice to say, the group has the potential for accomplishing a great deal.
By: William Webb PAFET stands for "Partners Affiliated for Exploring Technology," a resource consortium of six newspaper publishing companies.