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26 Feb 2009 22:31


Biz, U.S.: Are newspaper JOAs a dying breed? Denver hints at it.

  • What are JOAs? Joint operating agreements were implemented in the 1970s as a way to help two-newspaper towns retain multiple journalistic voices. More than two dozen cities across the country used JOAs as a way to separate the advertising from the journalism.
  • Failing left & right JOAs once helped Detroit, Denver and Seattle keep their newspapers alive. All three are struggling to stay afloat. Denver, obviously, just closed the Rocky. Detroit is cutting back deliveries to three days a week. And Seattle could lose the Post-Intelligencer.
  • Why it didn’t workSImple – the system eventually didn’t make economic sense. The advertisers would favor one paper over the other, and the stronger paper would eventually hold the weaker one up. E.W. Scripps, by they way, has been involved in half a dozen failed JOAs. source