| Dec 13, 2007

Editorial - December 13, 2007 Back toHome Editorial - December 13, 2007 Sad day in the newspaper business Editorial by Jeff Green

One of our brethren has fallen. I refer to the sentencing of Conrad Black, who at one time was the owner of a single small newspaper, just like Frontenac News owner/publisher Jule Koch-Brison.

There are some interesting similarities between Black and Koch-Brison, although Jule has never been charged with mail fraud, as far we know.

When she took ownership of the Frontenac News, however, Koch-Brison did the same thing that Conrad Black and his cohort David Radler did when they walked into the newsroom of their first newspaper; she counted the desks. Radler and Black were famous for eliminating a fixed percentage of the desks in each paper they bought, creating an instant boost in profitability by cutting the payroll.

In her case, Jule only found a couple of card tables, and an old door that was being used as a counter. So what was she to do? There was no one to fire. There was also very little in the way of profit to maximize, but that is another story.

Injunction _served

Black and Radner purchased many newspapers over the years, took their companies’ public, etc., eventually became wealthy and, in the end, were convicted of felonies in he United States.

She was tempted to follow this same path, but Jule was thwarted when she was not able to purchase the National Post or the Jerusalem Post, and attempts to list the Frontenac News on the New York Stock Exchange have been similarly unsuccessful.

Jule’s attempts to obtain a peerage have been similarly futile; she had hoped to be appointed Lord Koch-Brison of Clarendon Station but nothing came of it.

So, Jule Koch sits and waits, a newspaper mogul without an empire, without a crushing debt-load or even a decent annual loss, and without even a police investigation under way into her financial dealings.

Still, we must remember that if the mighty Conrad can go down, even the owner of the lowly North Frontenac anyone could fall. It might be only a matter of time before CSIS and the Security Exchange Commission are knocking on our door to arrest our owner.

We'll be waiting.

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