October 8, 2015 Last Updated 4:26 pm

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Jérôme Valcke get yellow cards from FIFA ethics committee

Morning Brief: Gannett scoops up the Journal Media Group newspapers, likely cost cutting to follow as publisher of USA Today now own papers in 106 local markets

The wheels of justice turn slowly (if they turn at all), but when they do there is sometimes great joy. Today football (read: soccer) fans are rejoicing at the news that FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been suspended by the organizations ethics committee for 90 days. Also suspended were Michel Platini, who had ambitions to become FIFA’s President, and Jérôme Valcke, Secretary General of FIFA, while former FIFA vice president, Chung Mong-joon, was banned for six years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs.

SB-380“President Blatter was disappointed that the Ethics Committee did not follow the Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Code, both of which provide for an opportunity to be heard,” Blatter’s lawyer wrote in a statement. “Further, the Ethics Committee based its decision on a misunderstanding of the actions of the Attorney General in Switzerland, which has opened an investigation but brought no charge against the President. In fact, the prosecutors will be obliged by law to dismiss the case if their investigation, barely two weeks old, does not establish sufficient evidence. Pres Blatter looks forward to opportunity to present evidence that will demonstrate he did not engage in any misconduct.”

Well, good luck with that.

By the way, the original headline here said “red cards,” these suspensions are really more like yellow cards, aren’t they?

Meredith could be in line for a $60 million check. That is the break-up fee that would be paid by Media General should the board of directors decide to cancel their understanding with the publisher and broadcaster and go with a competing bid from Nexstar.

BHG-Oct15-300Yesterday the NYPost reported the deal between Meredith and Media General was dead, dead, dead. But that report appears to only have been based on the public opposition of two shareholder groups: Starboard and OppenheimerFunds.

“Our analysis is similar to many Wall Street analysts in that a transaction with Nexstar is a better alternative for the company’s shareholders than the Media General-Meredith transaction,” Oppenheimer execs wrote in a letter to Media General.

So, what may hold up a deal with Nexstar? The details concerning who runs what, and who gets paid what. All that had been worked out in the Meredith deal with J. Stewart Bryan III, current Media General Chairman, set to become Chairman of the new Meredith Media General, and Stephen M. Lacy, currently Meredith CEO, was set to become President and CEO of the new company.

Another Murdoch paper did a little better with their reporting. The Wall Street Journal late yesterday said that Gannett would announce a deal to acquire Journal Media Group, the new newspaper company formed by the merging of Journal Communications and E.W. Scripps newspaper properties. Their report likely spurred Gannett and go ahead and announce the merger early last evening.

MJS-sales-710The deal means that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, along with the former E.W. Scripps papers (such as The Commercial Appeal in Memphis) are now Gannett papers, will all that that implies.

As the new newspaper company was barely profitable, it is expected that Gannett will soon wield the axe, saving up to $10 million immediately, and at least double that over the long haul. Gannett’s strategy will be to cut national news coverage responsibilities from the local papers, making them concentrate solely on local news, while Gannett’s national news team, specialists in reducing large stories into tiny bits, will provide the national and international news. Just as all the Gannett websites are identical, soon these newspapers will being to resemble other Gannett properties.

Who will want to read them is anybody’s guess. But if you check next door, the old lady with the yapping dog may still be a subscriber.

Another Murdoch paper remains in the news. Chris Pharo, the former head of news at The Sun, the British tabloid, and district reporter Jamie Pyatt, are facing trial accused of police corruption. Pharos lawyer is accusing News International of being “hung out to dry by the company he loyally served for nearly his whole working life.”

“They were terrified the company would prosecuted and if it was the authorities in the United States might withdraw licences, bringing the whole of Mr Murdoch’s empire down,” Nigel Rumfitt is reported by The Guardian to have said in court.

Well, yes, the empire must live on, so sacrifices will have to be made. If you work for Rupert Murdoch you surely must know this, right?

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