Yesterday Knight Ridder finally agreed to sell itself. The pricetag is $4.5 billion and the purchaser is the McClatchy Company, a much smaller newspaper chain heretofore concentrated in California and the Southeast. For editorial types, this is good news: People who value journalism would rather see a newspaper company win an auction like this one than a soulless private-equity firm, and, even, McClatchy is considered to be one of the best newspaper chains. (Its papers spend money on reporting and win awards and — even better — almost always see circulation gains, which is basically unheard of.)
For Philadelphians, however, this is bad news, as McClatchy has said it's immediately offering for sale a dozen of the KR papers, including both The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News. And suddenly we understand why Philly was so eager to get that sixth-borough status: Even if though there may not be a future for their local papers, they'll still have the Times, Post, and Daily News.