Knight Ridder

Knight Ridder

:"For the unrelated television series, see "Knight Rider. "For other articles see: Knight Rider (disambiguation)"

Knight Ridder (IPAEng|ˈrɪdɚ) was an American media company, specializing in newspaper and Internet publishing. Until it was bought by The McClatchy Company on June 27, 2006, it was the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States, with 32 daily newspapers.


The corporate ancestors of Knight Ridder were Knight Newspapers, Inc. and Ridder Publications, Inc. The first company was founded by John S. Knight upon inheriting control of "The Akron Beacon Journal" from his father, Charles Landon Knight, in 1933; the second company was founded by Herman Ridder when he acquired the German language "Staats-Zeitung" newspaper in 1892. As anti-German sentiment increased between the two world wars, Ridder successfully transitioned into English language publishing by acquiring the "Journal of Commerce" in 1926.

Both companies went public in 1969 and merged in 1974. For a brief time, the combined company was the largest newspaper publisher in the United States.

Knight Ridder had a long history of innovation in technology. It was one of the first newspaper publishers to experiment with videotex when it launched its Viewtron system in 1982, was one of the first to actively develop newspaper content for America Online in 1993, and joined the ill-fated New Century Network project in 1994.

For most of its existence, the company was based in Miami, with headquarters on the top floor at its flagship newspaper, "The Miami Herald". In 1998, Knight Ridder announced it would relocate its headquarters from Miami to San Jose, Calif.; there, the company's "San Jose Mercury News" -- one of the first daily newspapers to regularly publish its full content online -- was booming along with the rest of Silicon Valley. The company rented a sleek downtown high-rise as its new corporate base.

Many argue that the quality of Knight Ridder newspapers had suffered in recent years as its president, Tony Ridder, forced by shareholder demands, cut staff and budgets to achieve a profit margin of more than 20 percent.

In November of 2005, the company announced plans for "strategic initiatives," which involved the possible sale of the company. This came after major shareholders publicly said the company was worth less than the sum of its parts and urged management to put the company up for sale. The Newspaper Guild tried to work with an investment firm to take control of the Knight Ridder papers where it represented the journalists. Knight Ridder said it would only sell the company as a whole, not individual papers, and the Guild responded that if that happened, the investment group would try to buy some of the papers from the new owner.

On March 13, 2006, The McClatchy Company announced its agreement to purchase Knight Ridder for a purchase price of [ $6.5 billion in cash, stock and debt.] The deal gave McClatchy 32 daily newspapers in 29 markets, with a total circulation of 3.3 million. However, for various reasons, McClatchy decided to immediately resell twelve of these papers. []

On April 26, 2006, McClatchy announced it was selling the "San Jose Mercury News", "Contra Costa Times", "Monterey Herald", and "St. Paul Pioneer Press" to MediaNews Group (with backing from the Hearst Corporation) for $1 billion. []

List of newspapers

Daily newspapers owned by Knight Ridder and its predecessors included:

Knight Ridder-Owned Companies

A list of companies that were at one time or another owned by Knight Ridder:

* "Vu/Text" - 1982-1996. Merged with PressLink to become MediaStream.
* "PressLink" - ??-1996. Merged with Vu/Text to become MediaStream.
* "MediaStream" - 1996-2001, Acquired by [ NewsBank]
* "DataStar" - Acquired from Radio Schweiz Ltd., merged with Dialog to form Knight Ridder Information
* "Dialog (online database)" - Merged with DataStar to form Knight Ridder Information
* "Knight Ridder Information" - ??-1997, Acquired by MAID, later by Thomson
* "Knight Ridder Financial Inc" - 1985 Buys MoneyCentre and renames it KRFI?? -1996, Acquired by Global Financial trading as Bridge Data

Knight Ridder-Owned Television Stations

In 1954, Ridder Newspapers launched WDSM-TV in Superior, Wisconsin, serving the Duluth, Minnesota market. Initially a CBS affiliate, it switched to its present NBC affiliation a year and a half after the station's launch. It was spun off after Ridder's merger with Knight Newspapers, Inc.

From 1956 to 1962, Knight co-owned a then-NBC affiliate, WCKT in Miami, Florida, with the Cox publishing family.

In 1977, Knight Ridder entered broadcasting with the acquisition of Poole Broadcasting, which consisted of WJRT-TV in Flint, Michigan, WTEN in Albany, New York and its satellite WCDC in Adams, Massachusetts, and WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island. Immediately after the acquisition of these stations was finalized, Knight Ridder cut a corporate affiliation deal with ABC, switching then-CBS affiliates WTEN/WCDC and WPRI (the latter of which eventually rejoined CBS) to ABC (WJRT was already affiliated with ABC when the affiliation deal was made). Knight Ridder would acquire several television stations in medium-sized markets during the 1980s, including three stations owned by "The Detroit News" which the Gannett Company (which purchased the newspaper in 1986) could not keep due to Federal Communications Commission regulations on media cross-ownership and/or television duopolies then in effect. (Interestingly, none of Knight Ridder's later acquisitions changed their network affiliations under Knight Ridder ownership; for example, then-NBC affiliate WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama remained an NBC affiliate when it was owned by Knight Ridder and would switch to Fox several years after Knight Ridder sold the station.) In early 1989, Knight Ridder announced its exit from broadcasting, selling all of its stations to separate buyers; the sales were finalized in the summer and early fall of that year.

Notes::"**This station was co-owned by Knight Newspapers and Cox Newspapers, long before Knight's merger with Ridder Publications.":"++This station was owned by Ridder Newspapers until the merger between Ridder and Knight forced its divestiture."


*"Ridder" is Dutch for "Knight."

*Contrary to popular belief, the company had nothing to do with the television series Knight Rider. However, rumors once circulated that the company had made actor David Hasselhoff an honorary Vice President as a gag. This, of course, was not the case.

External links

* [ Knight Ridder corporate website]
* [ Knight Ridder Washington Bureau]



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