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Free Press

"Legal wrangling."
"Struggles with predatory ad pricing from a competitor."

http://www.toledofreepress.com/2015/04/27/pounds-toledo-free-press-to-close/

created by McCaskey on Apr 27, 2015 at 04:13:58 pm     Comments: 61

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Comments ... #

:(

posted by endcycle on Apr 27, 2015 at 04:45:21 pm     #  

Disappointing. I picked up the latest issue over the weekend and was surprised to see how thin it was. I thought then that it didn't look good for their future. Guess this just confirms my suspicions.

posted by daddyg on Apr 27, 2015 at 04:54:38 pm     #  

Shocked to hear this. That newspaper has won a ton of awards over the years.

posted by renegade on Apr 27, 2015 at 05:00:41 pm     #  

Sad to see it go, we've spent so much time on TT discussing their indeth and thoughtful articles.

posted by SensorG on Apr 27, 2015 at 06:12:23 pm     #  

I can't say I'm surprised or, given what the Free Press has become in the last two years, disappointed. Any disappointment is in having seen it decline, and once it is gone losing the opportunity for it to be taken over by a better publisher and editors.

When I first moved to Toledo in the summer of 2012, they did a really fantastic series of in depth articles on the solar industry. Top notch stuff, that was. There was also more content in the editor's statements and other articles and opinion pieces. Oh, and they still had Gary Rathbun (thank god he's still on WSPD).

Things seem to have gone downhill after Brian Wilson was kicked out of WSPD. Was there any direct link between The Free Press and WSPD? No. But I do think that Brian Wilson kept WSPD on its toes and probably exerted an indirect influence on any media outlet seen as an alternative to the Blade. (WSPD has also gone way downhill.)

Michael Miller's editor's statements degenerated to accounts of his family life and other touchy-feely pap. Thomas Pounds hasn't had anything to say, and often tries to cover that up by using larger font in his publisher's statement section, and/or merely repeating what had been written elsewhere in that week's edition.

We were supposed to be impressed with the new editor Sarah Ottney because she is young and a woman. (Wasn't she listed on one of those silly "30 under 30" lists of so-called "up and coming leaders?") Bugger this stupid fetish with youth.

Let's talk about cause and effect. Did declines in advertising precipitate the decline in content, or vice versa? Thomas Pounds is rolling out the same exuses the big mainsteam media employ to explain their loss of revenue and market share. Neither party wants to look inward and consider the possibility that it's the product they're producing (and I mean that in the sense of the content vs the medium) that is their core problem.

posted by Bandito on Apr 27, 2015 at 07:07:14 pm     #   6 people liked this

The Blocks should be ashamed of themselves. Unethical bullies.

posted by Brewster on Apr 27, 2015 at 07:08:19 pm     #  

My sarcasm tags must have been stripped out. Seriously, when was the last tine anyone on TT even linked to them for something that was worth discussing?

posted by SensorG on Apr 27, 2015 at 07:26:19 pm     #   2 people liked this

SensorG posted at 06:12:23 PM on Apr 27, 2015:

Sad to see it go, we've spent so much time on TT discussing their indeth and thoughtful articles.

As opposed to the constantly lauded Blade? I read it every week and am VERY, VERY sad to see it go.

posted by ahmahler on Apr 27, 2015 at 08:31:43 pm     #   2 people liked this

Like this, perhaps? [sarcasm]

http://www.toledofreepress.com/tag/michael-miller/
http://www.toledofreepress.com/2014/05/30/raising-our-rainbow/

Perhaps if Michael Miller had spent more time on politics and business--subjects on which the Free Press could have provided a counterpoint to the Blade--than he did on family life, sociology, and charity events and organizations, we would have kept on reading the Free Press.

Also, one of my pet peeves with Thomas Pounds, The Free Press, and even WSPD, is their all too frequent employment of the playground-level ad hominem smear label of "naysayer" against anybody who isn't a mindless chearleader of whatever the powers that be want to foist on the people.

posted by Bandito on Apr 27, 2015 at 08:46:14 pm     #   2 people liked this

Did Blade management celebrate at the Toledo Club tonight?

posted by TrilbyGuy on Apr 27, 2015 at 10:05:46 pm     #   3 people liked this

I wont miss tfp monthly joe napoli ass kissing articles. Pounds allowed his paper to fall into a boring rag, lacking objectivity and supporting too many levies and spending proposals no matter how wasteful and ridiculous. Tfp only usefulness was as a blade rival but to say toledo has lost something significant is a reach.

posted by EconCat88 on Apr 27, 2015 at 10:26:05 pm     #   2 people liked this

Bad news indeed! It's important to have an alternative newspaper that has a different perspective on things. The broadcast stations continue to "partner" with The Blade. Pretty soon, there will be no alternative news. I think it is closing because it is the victim of fewer ad dollars caused by a continuing erosion of population and businesses in northwest Ohio. The lawsuits didn't help, either. Very expensive. They may have liability insurance, but they still have to pay the lawyers their exhorbitant hourly fees.

posted by bikerdude on Apr 28, 2015 at 01:40:04 am     #   2 people liked this

http://www.toledoblade.com/business/2015/04/28/Toledo-Free-Press-closes-after-10-years.html

Can someone point out the part where the Blade discloses the lengths that they went to in order to make sure this day came?
They don't mention at all that they were the number one predator?
Not even a passing "we kind of sued them too."

In the absence of reporting, I'll guess that The Blade spent $500,000 making the Free Press go away. Maybe more. All we can do is speculate, on account of the Blade's spineless decision to avoid disclosure.

posted by justread on Apr 28, 2015 at 07:30:57 am     #   7 people liked this

TrilbyGuy posted at 10:05:46 PM on Apr 27, 2015:

Did Blade management celebrate at the Toledo Club tonight?

yes

posted by MattL on Apr 28, 2015 at 07:39:41 am     #   3 people liked this

"Gary Rathbun (thank god he's still on WSPD)" - seriously?
"WSPD has also gone way downhill." - SERIOUSLY!

posted by justareviewer on Apr 28, 2015 at 09:42:13 am     #   2 people liked this

SensorG posted at 06:12:23 PM on Apr 27, 2015:

Sad to see it go, we've spent so much time on TT discussing their indeth and thoughtful articles.

Glad I saw your later comment. I was thinking, "I can't remember the last time I saw a thread about one of their stories."

posted by slowsol on Apr 28, 2015 at 09:48:47 am     #  

I didn't read it. Therefore, it wasn't valuable and had no role to play.
You will do better in Toledo with media monopolies.

posted by justread on Apr 28, 2015 at 10:26:09 am     #   3 people liked this

Jeremy Baumhower is starting Free Toledo Newspaper - online only and free. Perhaps without printing costs, rent, utilities, insurance and other costs associated with printing a newspaper, he can keep the real news and insights and get rid of the fluff pieces.

posted by Mike21 on Apr 28, 2015 at 10:53:45 am     #  

Ann Arbor has been without a print paper for quite some time. The Blade is fortunate enough that they have the local cable monopoly to support them.

posted by classylady on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:14:57 am     #  

You may or may not agree with everything TFP said (I certainly didn't), but it was important having an alternate voice. Some independent minded people on this board may feel like they do a proper job of curating their own local news. For many, TFP had a real voice that stood strong in the face of the monopoly. There was more local reporting in TFP than The Blade, maybe not necessarily always "hard" news, but it added information. Losing them may not change your daily life, but TFP also acted as a watchdog. Now, silently, The Blade et al, gain more leverage and control.

posted by ahmahler on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:34:59 am     #   4 people liked this

TFP served as a nice complement to the Blade and I enjoyed reading it. I wonder if the lawsuit recently filed against them by Menard's contributed to the decision to close? They must have looked at what it would cost to defend and figured that it wasn't worth it.

posted by Ace_Face on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:41:04 am     #  

On positive note for TFP, far longer run than Daybreak Dispatch (Aug. '77-Feb. '78).

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1350&dat=19790615&id=tz9PAAAAIBAJ&sjid=rAIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7171,3945288&hl=en

posted by McCaskey on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:03:21 pm     #  

Ace_Face posted at 11:41:04 AM on Apr 28, 2015:

TFP served as a nice complement to the Blade and I enjoyed reading it. I wonder if the lawsuit recently filed against them by Menard's contributed to the decision to close? They must have looked at what it would cost to defend and figured that it wasn't worth it.

In the FB comments, Tom Pounds stated that it didn't. He says they haven't been served on that lawsuit yet.

posted by slowsol on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:16:39 pm     #  

justread posted at 07:30:57 AM on Apr 28, 2015:

http://www.toledoblade.com/business/2015/04/28/Toledo-Free-Press-closes-after-10-years.html

Can someone point out the part where the Blade discloses the lengths that they went to in order to make sure this day came?
They don't mention at all that they were the number one predator?

Not even a passing "we kind of sued them too."

In the absence of reporting, I'll guess that The Blade spent $500,000 making the Free Press go away. Maybe more. All we can do is speculate, on account of the Blade's spineless decision to avoid disclosure.

Who knows, that figure could be less or more. perhaps much more.
But business is business, and Tom Pounds---far better than anyone---knew full well what he was getting into ten years ago.

posted by McCaskey on Apr 28, 2015 at 12:20:25 pm     #  

McCaskey posted at 12:03:21 PM on Apr 28, 2015:

On positive note for TFP, far longer run than Daybreak Dispatch (Aug. '77-Feb. '78).

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1350&dat=19790615&id=tz9PAAAAIBAJ&sjid=rAIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7171,3945288&hl=en

Those were the days. Getting up at 4:00AM to beat the Blade truck drivers to where my Daybreak Dispatches were dropped off overnight.

It was an early lesson in "freedom" of the press, and how far one newspaper would go to ensure we have a Strong Publisher form of government in Toledo.

posted by justread on Apr 28, 2015 at 02:11:30 pm     #   5 people liked this

"Gary Rathbun (thank god he's still on WSPD)" - seriously?
"WSPD has also gone way downhill." - SERIOUSLY!
! posted by justareviewer on Apr 28, 2015 at 09:42:13 am # + 2
Yes, seriously. There was nothing in my post that would have suggested that I was being sarcastic in making those statements. The Free Press also went downhill when they dropped or lost (whatever the case may be) Gary Rathbun's column.

WSPD has gone downhill without Brian Wilson. First, his program was infinitely better than the new guy, what's his name. More importantly, Brian Wilson's influence seemed to keep Fred in line. Without that influence, Fred has shown his true colors.

posted by Bandito on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:18:18 pm     #  

Jeremy Baumhower is starting Free Toledo Newspaper - online only and free. Perhaps without printing costs, rent, utilities, insurance and other costs associated with printing a newspaper, he can keep the real news and insights and get rid of the fluff pieces.

! posted by Mike21 on Apr 28, 2015 at 10:53:45 am

Jeremy Baumhower (or "Scruffy the lefto-fascist" as I like to think of him) is one of the reasons TFP lost readership.

posted by Bandito on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:24:03 pm     #  

The TFP always had more conservatives writing for them than liberals. Didn't matter though...

They lost readership because they did little real journalism. They weren't out there beating The Blade to stories.

I lost most of my interest after Miller came against anonymous online posting.

Having multipe contributes getting busted for plagerism didn't help either.

posted by SensorG on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:41:20 pm     #  

Contributors...

posted by SensorG on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:41:54 pm     #  

"Jeremy Baumhower is starting Free Toledo Newspaper ..."

Is that the same person who opposes diversity of opinion and promotes cyber bullying and virtual terrorism by trying to incite a mob to unmask EconCat88? If yes, then he's qualified to start a newspaper. Oh, does he live in Toledo? If not, then he's super-qualified to start a Toledo newspaper.

posted by jr on Apr 29, 2015 at 12:25:47 am     #   8 people liked this

I believe he lives in Sylvania.

posted by Mike21 on Apr 29, 2015 at 01:14:57 am     #  

Very sad to see TFP go. I worked as a freelancer for the paper for about five years, and they were great people to work for. I have fond memories of my time with TFP, and of course reducing the number of print options is not good for the regional market (except for the Blade, the City Paper, and other direct competitors for advertising dollars).

posted by historymike on Apr 29, 2015 at 08:02:33 am     #   1 person liked this

Contributors...
! posted by SensorG on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:41:54 pm
I worked as a freelancer for the paper for about five years... ! posted by historymike

Would it be safe to say that they had cut back on the contributors and freelancers in the last year or so, and that reduced the content? There is absolutely no question in my mind that the content declined, both in quantity and quality.

posted by Bandito on Apr 29, 2015 at 09:32:56 pm     #   1 person liked this

I lost all respect for the Toledo Free Press a couple years ago. They interviewed me about a major issue and demanded that I give them an exclusive. This issue involved a family that would lose their home unless something was done immediately. The Blade wanted to interview me but I declined since I had promised the Free Press an exclusive. After a couple months of waiting the Blade ran the story without my input. When I confronted the Free Press about why they never ran the story but demanded exclusivity I never got a straight answer. I concluded they had no integrity since they were more concerned with blocking Blade reporting than in getting facts out to the community.

posted by tolhol28 on Apr 30, 2015 at 08:39:48 am     #   2 people liked this

I listened to most of Pounds' interview on WSPD yesterday AM. I can't say I found him very convincing about why the paper actually folded. IMHO, there's just something more to it.
I am also among those who believe that paper went way downhill the last couple of years. My SO and I would make that remark to one another every time we'd thumb through a copy. Just appears to me that someone wasn't minding the store.

As for anything Jeremy Baumhower did/does/may do in the future...<yawn>....I wouldn't expend the energy for the mouse clicks.

posted by Foodie on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:03:13 am     #  

Baumhower is the worst :/

posted by nits on Apr 30, 2015 at 11:52:55 am     #   5 people liked this

Excerpts from Baumhower's Mar 13, 2015 Toledo Free Press column :

I was tired of living in a city being bullied by its daily newspaper. I was tired of being shown, via front-page “special reports,” how bad and ugly my hometown was.

I never understood how the publisher of a city’s newspaper could live in a completely different state, hundreds of miles away.

The irony of a newspaper publishing repeated editorials offering advice to local politicians on how to run city government while itself losing millions of dollars a year is beyond rich.

Toledo Free Press has spent the past decade battling the one thing that has kept this city down since the last episode of “M*A*S*H” aired, and it isn’t the economy.

The Blade is close to crippling this paper with behind-the-scenes influence and legal bills from an insulting lawsuit.

If you can’t beat ’em, sue ’em. If they dare to point out the emperor wears no clothes, sue ’em some more.

“One of America’s Great Newspapers (For Law Firms)” would be a more accurate description.


Excerpts from the link that upso posted:

Pounds said he hated to cave in, but had no choice following his bruising battle with the powerful twin brothers who own The Blade.

... a 2009 editorial cartoon in the Free Press that implied the brothers were blocking job-creating development in the struggling city of 282,000 struck a nerve.

“That was the last straw for them,” Pounds said. “They went ballistic.”

A cartoon pushed these one-percenters over the edge???

The battle bled out of the courtroom and into the business community, where, Pounds claims, The Blade threatened advertisers into spurning the Free Press.

In one episode that underscored the rancor, a local TV station refused to allow Miller to appear on its air to promote a charity CD that benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation, reportedly noting that he worked for a “direct competitor” of a "valued partner."

This seems bizarre, but I don't know the background details.

Currently, the two sides are awaiting an appeal of a 2014 ruling by Common Pleas Judge Gary Cook requiring the Toledo Free Press to turn over its financial books and marketing strategy to The Blade.

posted by jr on May 01, 2015 at 01:35:25 pm     #  

I always thought it seemed weird how personally the Blocks (JRB more than Allan I suspect) take it when anyone challenges them. Usually that kind of vindictiveness and paranoia are the purview of self-made men like John Menard and Howard Hughes. Maybe they have some insecurity about not having to actually work for a living.

posted by Ace_Face on May 01, 2015 at 03:14:29 pm     #  

If you want to look at "how personally the Blocks...take it when anyone challenges them", look no further than what their minion, Paul Hem, did to The Mental Block a little over ten years ago.

posted by pete on May 01, 2015 at 03:24:09 pm     #   2 people liked this

This minion is still celebrating that event, while the opposing, less competent minions still whine about it.

posted by paulhem on May 01, 2015 at 03:56:29 pm     #  

paulhem posted at 03:56:29 PM on May 01, 2015:

This minion is still celebrating that event, while the opposing, less competent minions still whine about it.

You know that isn't making "Special Assistant for Technology to the Publisher and Editor-In-Chief" sound any less creepy, right?

posted by Ace_Face on May 01, 2015 at 05:26:46 pm     #   2 people liked this

Naw... What's creepy are people who use anonymous forms like this one to call someone "creepy," and/or a "minion."

Also, not all speech is protected under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. constitution. I've lectured about that here, so those who wish to know more, look it up.

posted by paulhem on May 01, 2015 at 06:12:22 pm     #  

What's creepy are people who use anonymous forms like this one to call someone "creepy," and/or a "minion."

What's interesting is that last decade, many people in the media biz seemed to despise the anonymous posters on blogs and message boards.

But in this decade, many people in the media biz seem to love Twitter, which contains a lot of anonymous posters spewing hate-filled venom.

posted by jr on May 01, 2015 at 06:33:03 pm     #  

Has nothing to do with anonymous posting. If it is used as a shield to defame or harass others who are not anonymous and is allowed by the sysop, then problems will occur.

posted by paulhem on May 01, 2015 at 06:40:29 pm     #  

So if you are a douchebag on the internet and you use your real name, like Paul Hem, it is fine. But if you are a douchebag on the internet and you are anonymous... that is a big problem.

Why? There is only one reason.

They can't attack anonymous people and get away with it. Yet.
The bootlicking minions of the media monopolists continue to use anonymity as a basis for marginalization and hope one day to be standing on the front porch of every econcat, everywhere.

posted by justread on May 01, 2015 at 08:49:06 pm     #   14 people liked this

Anonymity is the last bastion of freedom in the Strong Publisher form of government.

posted by justread on May 01, 2015 at 08:50:27 pm     #   5 people liked this

Ace_Face posted at 03:14:29 PM on May 01, 2015:

I always thought it seemed weird how personally the Blocks (JRB more than Allan I suspect) take it when anyone challenges them. Usually that kind of vindictiveness and paranoia are the purview of self-made men like John Menard and Howard Hughes. Maybe they have some insecurity about not having to actually work for a living.

I still get the giggles when I remember the time when Susan Block lambasted JRB in the comments section of a Blade article.

I don't know if she was drunk, off her meds, or what, but it was hilarious.

posted by mom2 on May 01, 2015 at 09:51:05 pm     #   1 person liked this

I still get the giggles when I remember the time when Susan Block lambasted JRB in the comments section of a Blade article.

Link please?

posted by ahmahler on May 01, 2015 at 10:05:07 pm     #  

The blood orange wit beer is mighty fine tonight at Mutz/MBBC if that interests you f*cking pricks. Hopefully that doesn't offend. Nice evening on the courtyard. DJ spinning tunes that I hear on 89X. Yeah.

posted by jr on May 01, 2015 at 10:12:10 pm     #   1 person liked this

ahmahler posted at 10:05:07 PM on May 01, 2015:
I still get the giggles when I remember the time when Susan Block lambasted JRB in the comments section of a Blade article.

Link please?

It was covered here on TT. If you search for Susan Block it'll lead you to the thread.

posted by dell_diva on May 01, 2015 at 10:44:35 pm     #   1 person liked this

ahmahler posted at 10:05:07 PM on May 01, 2015:
I still get the giggles when I remember the time when Susan Block lambasted JRB in the comments section of a Blade article.

Link please?

Her comments were removed from the Blade website, not surprisingly.

But here's the TT thread that was discussing it as it happened:

http://www.toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/161273/Susan_Block_calling_out_John_Block_in_Blade_comments

posted by mom2 on May 01, 2015 at 10:45:25 pm     #  

paulhem posted at 06:12:22 PM on May 01, 2015:

Naw... What's creepy are people who use anonymous forms like this one to call someone "creepy," and/or a "minion."

Also, not all speech is protected under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. constitution. I've lectured about that here, so those who wish to know more, look it up.

I didn't call you creepy, I called your job title creepy.

posted by Ace_Face on May 01, 2015 at 11:12:01 pm     #  

The entire topic gives me the Willies. And I don't mean Nelson.

posted by Mariner on May 02, 2015 at 06:50:46 am     #  

mom2 posted at 10:45:25 PM on May 01, 2015:
ahmahler posted at 10:05:07 PM on May 01, 2015:
I still get the giggles when I remember the time when Susan Block lambasted JRB in the comments section of a Blade article.

Link please?

Her comments were removed from the Blade website, not surprisingly.

But here's the TT thread that was discussing it as it happened:

http://www.toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/161273/Susan_Block_calling_out_John_Block_in_Blade_comments

Awesome! That's pretty crazy.

posted by ahmahler on May 02, 2015 at 09:02:11 am     #  

paulhem posted at 06:40:29 PM on May 01, 2015:

Has nothing to do with anonymous posting. If it is used as a shield to defame or harass others who are not anonymous and is allowed by the sysop, then problems will occur.

You're such a fucking dickhead. Whoops I just posted that anonymously!

posted by hunkytownsausage on May 02, 2015 at 10:18:19 am     #   7 people liked this

TrilbyGuy posted at 10:05:46 PM on Apr 27, 2015:

Did Blade management celebrate at the Toledo Club tonight?

Toledo Club is for plebes. Try the Kentucky Derby.

http://www.toledoblade.com/news/2015/05/03/Local-businessman-takes-in-derby.html

(Note the photo credit)

posted by Ace_Face on May 03, 2015 at 11:03:49 pm     #   2 people liked this

^^^^ Lol!

posted by TrilbyGuy on May 04, 2015 at 12:44:52 am     #  

I understand the need for a business to represent it's (perceived) interests. But when you run a guy out of business and then into bankruptcy, at least have the common courtesy not to gloat about it. Zero class.

http://www.toledoblade.com/Courts/2017/03/16/Former-Free-Press-publisher-Thomas-F-Pounds-bankrupt.html

posted by Ace_Face on Mar 17, 2017 at 03:04:26 pm     #   13 people liked this

Really?
The daily rag finds it necessary to print what Pounds has in his checking account, a Rolex watch, etc.?
Zero class indeed.

posted by Foodie on Mar 17, 2017 at 03:41:48 pm     #   12 people liked this

That article makes the Blocks look petty and spiteful.

Looks like the majority of his debt is related to the Blocks anyhow. The $123K owed to BCI and $60K in legal fees relating to the suit.

If it's any consolation to Mr Pounds, printing that makes the Blocks look like massive douchebags.

posted by mom2 on Mar 22, 2017 at 07:33:43 pm     #   2 people liked this