Bruce S. Sherman
Private Capital Management
8889 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Suite 500
Naples, Florida 34108-7512
Fax (239) 254-2557
Dear Mr. Sherman:
You recently proposed that Knight Ridder, the nation's second-largest newspaper chain, be sold to the highest bidder because the company -- while very profitable -- has not earned enough money to boost its short term stock price.
The consequence of forcing the sale of a quality news chain such as Knight Ridder, without regard to the civic and journalistic value these papers provide, will almost certainly be an erosion of the information necessary for democratic self-government in the 32 communities the company serves.
We will suffer the harm, in terms of civic vitality, that your actions will cause.
Therefore, we wish to warn you and any potential buyers that we will boycott the new owner of any Knight Ridder newspaper if new management further weakens investment in public-service journalism by reducing the number of journalists in the newsroom or by threatening the professionalism of the staff by lowering salaries.
If, however, you drop your demand that Knight Ridder sell its newspapers, we promise to approach at least one neighbor or co-worker and try to persuade him or her to subscribe to a Knight Ridder newspaper.
Thank you for considering our point of view.
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