Hope for better times among Post-Bulletin survivors; some staffers losing jobs in sale of newspaper

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) — The day after employees at Rochester’s Post-Bulletin newspaper learned the paper is being sold, some are looking on the bright side.  But others are finding out they’re losing their jobs.

The future might be most difficult for some two dozen people working on the printing press and distribution side of the P-B’s downtown operation.  The new owner–Forum Communications–already has a printing press in nearby Red Wing.

All signs are pointing to Rochester’s paper being printed in Red Wing after the transaction closes by the end of June.  Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but Forum Communications said Thursday that the P-B’s buildings and property in downtown Rochester were not part of the deal.

The Post-Bulletin’s press is 30 years old.  The main building itself is nearly 65 years old.  But the property it sits on is possibly worth a small fortune–all the physical assets have been listed for sale since November, 2018 for $22-million.  The paper itself reported Olmsted County puts the total market value of the buildings and land at $5.58 million.

For those working on the editorial side of the newspaper, which had been paring down layers of talented reporting staff for years, there was at last some optimism about what lies ahead.  The survivors will be working for a family-owned company with 36 newspapers in four states, four ABC-affiliated television stations, an interactive division and the Forum News Service.

“No one was shocked, and no one was overly unhappy about the sale,” said reporter Jeff Kiger.  “But the transition is going to be rough.”

Former P-B staff members told FOX 47 there hadn’t been raises at the paper for years, and recently, some reporters had actually been out delivering the newspapers on some of the routes.  Temp workers were also being used to fill some distribution jobs in recent months, and it’s not clear if those positions will be continued beyond the transaction closing date.

Forum’s Steve Wagner reported Thursday the company expected the sale to take effect June 1.

A spokesperson for Forum Communications said Thursday that the new ownership team, including Forum President and CEO Bill Marcil Jr., are on-site in Rochester meeting everyone and assessing needs.  Where will everyone work?  Who will be in charge?

“We are still figuring out a transition plan,” said Stephanie Schroeder.  “We are working it out.”

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom joined the KTTC-TV staff as News Director in February, 2008. He's a native Minnesotan, having grown up on a farm near Litchfield, and also spending a lot of time on Lake Vermilion near Tower-Soudan, where his grandfather Gust Saari worked in the Soudan Underground Mine. After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Noel worked as a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer at television stations in Duluth, Little Rock, Buffalo, Louisville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Noel was the News Director at WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo for seven of his 18 years at the CBS affiliate before returning to Minnesota. He and his wife Cindy have two grown children and make their home in Rochester. Email Noel at nsederstrom@kttc.com

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