This story chronicles the lastest chapter in the saga of the Timberjay newspaper which incurred the wrath of its minority share holders by out-reporting them about the cozy relations between Johnson Controls and the sprawling rural St. Louis County School District on the dubious sales pitch for and constuction of a smaller version of Duluth’s Red Plan. The minority owners of the Timberjay, the Albertsons, “invested” twenty grand in their competitors a couple decades ago, foolishly it seems. Their minority interest gave them no say in the business practices of their rival and put their “investment” at the mercy of the Timberjay’s owners until such time as those owners died and/or cashed out their own investments.
When this young century’s biggest local news story emerged the Albertsons and the Timberjay took different paths towards profitibility. The Timberjay chose to play the part of journalists and investigated the story winning accolades in the process. The Albertson’s chose to rely on the School District to advertise in their paper and uncritically published the School District’s story full of holes and deceptions. Not surprisingly industry won out over sloth. Subscribers abandoned the Albertson’s paper. Galled by their fozen twenty thousand dollar asset they ginned up a legal case to get back at the Timberjay. If they succeed they will kill off the only real newspaper in rural Northern St. Louis County. Their attorney, Mr. Colisimo, is also the attorney who represented the School District and did his best to supress the release of damaging information related to the disastrous school building plan which has riven the County’s northern schools.
The Timberjay’s defense fund, that I blogged about a few weeks ago, has raised over two-thirds of its $15,000 goal thus demonstrating that there are still people who value true journalism.