Monday, March 1, 2010

Editor & Publisher in Exile link added

A link to Greg Mitchell's blog is in the industry links section.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The view from 2010

One senses that the newspaper business is experiencing a bit of a lull. The economy is improving somewhat, providing some hope that advertising revenues might recover a little bit. But the underlying problems with the print newspaper business model are still there. The Great Recession exacerbated the problems, but did not cause them. Newspapers have weathered past downturns better than many industries.

The biggest paper to undergo some major restructuring over the holiday period was the Washington Times, but that paper is a unique beast -- more of a vanity press than anything else -- and provides little guidance on how things are faring with more ordinary papers. Many papers will undoubtedly be taking stock now that the calendar year has closed and we may get a better sense in this quarter about how 2010 will be.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Editor & Publisher, the trade magazine for the newspaper industry, is closing up shop.

Didn't see that one coming. I would have thought that they would have been in a better position than many to weather the storm because a lot of their subscriber base is institutional.

Guess not.

The casualties will continue to mount, no doubt. Even if the ecomomy is turning around, and I see little direct evidence of it, it may not for print media.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dallas Morning news editors report to ad managers

Oh, this will help.

They don;t seem to get it. A newspaper's rep is the only thing it really has. Politico and Huffington Post show that new media can be populated by new organizations just as well as established ones. If the Dallas Morning News is perceived to be just another Web site then they're abandoning their best asset.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Washington Times plans big cuts

Looks like the Washington Times is about to abandon the daily newspaper business. "Significant reductions" are planned, according to TPM, but the more interesting news is that the paper is likely dropping its Metro and Sports departments and ending home delivery.

It's going to be a propaganda organ, plain and simple.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

USA Today cuts news jobs

The Washington Business Journal reports USA Today is cutting 26 more newsroom jobs and Gannett's newspapers are implementing a 1-week furlough in the first quarter as the newspaper chain continues to struggle.

While the economy may be turning around I doubt it will be quick enough or robust enough to save most daily newspapers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Washington Post hunkers down

It looks like the Washington Post is pulling out of its bureaus in other U.S. cities to concentrate on Washington-area coverage in yet another example of cuts that can't help but devalue the content of the news organization.

One wonders if sacrificing content makes sense given the competitive environment.

Monday, November 23, 2009

When all else fails -- cheat

Evidently, as bad as recent reports of newspaper circulation losses are, in reality they are probably worse. According to this article new auditing rules mean that newspapers can doublecount online and print subscribers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good Luck making that work

Murdoch is suggesting that his new paid content sites will be invisible to Google.

It will be interesting to see if he can make that work. I'm skeptical, because Google is not only most people's first choice for searching for information, but their last. IO think Google is becoming like TV, if it's not on Google it doesn't exist.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Actually, I think this would make sense

It's rumored that Google may have its eye on the New York Times.

Most initial reaction is that Google would be crazy tow ant the NYT and its problems. Perhaps true as far as it goes, but the NYT's problems mostly revolve around money and that's the one problem Google can solve.

In return Google can buy a name that still has some credibility (although damaged as of late, due to money problems) that would seem to have a lot of intangible worth for Google. Google, as behemoth as it is, has a little problem of its own. It hasn't been here very long. Linking to a venerable institution like the NYT could help give Google an aura of stability and permanence, which I think it needs to move to the next stage in its plan to take over the world.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The shape of thing to come?

The overall trend is ghoulish, appropriately enough, on this Halloween 2009. Newspaper circulations are hemorrhaging readership worse than a slasher movie victim hemorrhages blood. The Washington Post explains the details.

But the essence is that almost everybody is seeing huge and fatal losses in circulation that can't be sustained more than a couple more years unless stopped.

But those few exceptions suggest which print newspapers may survive.

First off, the only large daily to see a gain was the Wall Street Journal. This suggests that a print newspaper with high quality house-generated content might survive in a few knowledge-based niches. The WSJ for finance, but are there other niches where this kind of model might work.

The other newspaper seeing gains are all smaller dailies that cover small and medium-sized cities. In many cases these cities have no other regular media covering them -- not even TV. This could be considered another niche market where there's enough demand for the information that people are willing to pay for it, and a restricted supply of quality news providers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sinking ships

The latest circulation figures are beyond grim with most major papers seeing double digit annual drops in circulation, including big names such as the New York Times.

In particular, the Boston Globe saw an 18% drop in circulation. Obviously that kind of precipitous drop can't be sustained very long, At some point advertisers will lose faith that anyone is seeing their ads and at that point it will be time turn out the light.

We're in the endgame here. There will be a massive wave of closures over the next 12 months, led by newspapers like the Globe that have a legacy debt that there's no way they can hope to repay.