Knight Ridder: Once Burned, And The Memory Lingers

James K. Batten, chairman and CEO of Knight-Ridder Inc., doesn't like to talk about the "V-word." That's the name insiders gave Viewtron, the money-losing electronic information system that the Miami-based newspaper company started in the 1980s. Knight-Ridder ended up losing $50 million on the venture before pulling the plug in 1986. And that painful experience, Batten says, left Knight-Ridder with "a healthy qkepticism about the amount of money people are willing to pay for news and information."

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