Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Golden Gate Jumper

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Golden Gate Jumper

Article excerpt

With the San Francisco 'Examiner' now in its death throes, it isn't too early for an autopsy. Cause of this DOA: JOA

Florence Fang, meet Jeffrey Gluck. Like the owner of The Examiner in San Francisco, Gluck, too, was the creation of a no-doubt well-meaning effort by the U.S. Justice Department to preserve some semblance of antitrust law enforcement -- and provide cover for a cynical deal following the breakup of a joint operating agreement (JOA).

Gluck today resides in the "Where Are They Now?" file, but there was a time, back in the mid-1980s, when he was as famous in St. Louis as Joe Garagiola. Gluck surfaced in late 1983, soon after the St. Louis JOA announced that Newhouse Newspapers would be shutting down the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, allowing Pulitzer Inc. to shift the much-bigger St. Louis Post-Dispatch to morning publication and both chains to share monopoly revenue far into the next century.

At Gluck's noisy urging, the Justice Department insisted that Newhouse sell the Globe-Democrat to the young man in a hurry. As owner, Gluck never let his inexperience in newspapers inhibit him from rash and costly business misjudgments. By 1985, employee paychecks were bouncing and the once-mighty Globe-Democrat, proud sponsor of Charles A. Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, could no longer afford to run air conditioners in the sweltering St. Louis summer. After Gluck abandoned the paper, a couple of hopeful real-estate brokers revived it. They did about as well you'd expect. …

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