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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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May 12, 2008 3:13 PM

Newsday to Cablevision

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Cablevision beat out News Corporation for Newsday. The Long Island cable company will pay $650 million for the Long Island newspaper. I am not sure how this purchase will work out because I am not familiar enough with Cablevision. I can say that I am glad Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation lost out. The other losing bidder was New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman

A New York Times story quotes an analyst speculating that Cablevision might have done the deal to try and achieve "synergies." I hate the word synergy when talking about the press. It is usually corporate code for draining newspaper resources into another entity like television. Cablevision could use its new Newsday newsroom to provide content for its phone and cable systems. This might make sense if the newspaper does not suffer while its reporters and editors are creating content for Cablevisions other entities.

There should also be questions about whether Cablevision owning Newsday is appropriate considering how much the company owns in the greater New York area. The company, which is public but controlled by the Dolan family, owns the New York Knicks, Rangers, and Madison Square Garden. Both teams are covered by Newsday. Cablevision is a major Long Island corporation that regularly finds itself on Newsday's pages. Can the new owners be hands-off when their teams and company are in the newspaper?

If done right, this could be a deal worth following. Cablevision can create an interesting news gathering model if it invests in Newsday and allows the newsroom its freedom. Out of this could come some innovative ways to deliver the content produced at the newspaper. Done wrong, and Newsday could be a starved bit player of Cablevision.

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