Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bad times for newspapers

McClatchy To Trim 10% of Workforce -- August Revenue Down 17% 'Star-Ledger' Publisher Threatens January 2009 Shutdown Gannett Reports Ad Revenue Off 16.8% for August Fort Worth Daily Selling Its Historic Headquarters 'Rushville Republican' Drops a Day's Edition 'OC Register' for Sale? 'Sac Bee' Buyouts Cut Staff 7% -- Second Reduction Since June Three Montana Papers Announce New Round of Layoffs 'Novato Advance' to Fold This Month 'Star-Ledger' Newsroom Buyout Count Low -- As Deadline Nears N.J.'s Largest Paper Goes Without AP For a Day -- Protest or Test? Gannett to Re-Org, Cut 100 Management Positions Nevada 'Daily' Will Drop Three Days 'Orange County Register' Studying Switch to Tabloid Washington 'Olympian' Faces More Cuts, Just as Exec. Editor Retires The above are headlines of major trade news stories for the past 7 days (9/9-16) in Editor & Publisher. It is a sign of the malaise the industry is going through. The Gannett and McClatchy ad revenue drops are devastating. They are the country's two largest newspaper chains. Three months ago, monthly year to year figures were in the minus 10 to 13% range. Now it's 17. The downward trend is accelerating. Most significant of these stories is the one about the threatened closure of the Newark Star-Ledger if all unions don’t reach agreement on a designated number of buyouts. The Drivers are balking. The publisher has said the next step will be to sell the paper and barring that, to close it. There simply aren’t any buyers for newspapers now, so this isn’t an idle threat. AP isn’t exempt from problems either. Their member papers have been chafing under the burden of high rates. About a year ago, the AP revised its rate structure to help the smaller papers and allow the larger ones to buy certain services on an a la carte basis. Still many are thinking of withdrawing and some already have given notice. In recent months, several newspapers have announced plans to drop the news service, with at least one -- The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash. -- challenging AP's two-year notice requirement. Other dailies that have already given notice to AP are The Bakersfield Californian, The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, The Post Register of Idaho Falls, and The Yakima Herald-Republic and Wenatchee World, both of Washington. Yet throughout this doom and gloom, E & P parrots the same liberal line as most newpapers, totally oblivious to the damage such partisanship is doing to their industry. Here are E & P's stories on the election. Pretty one-sided. Economists Favor Obama in Massive Survey Conducted by 'Dilbert' Cartoonist McCain Tells AP and Newspaper Editors: OK, Obama Did NOT Call Palin a 'Pig' Media Confirms: Palin Exaggerated Trip to Iraq LexisNexis Study Finds No Media Bias Against Palin, GOP -- So Far Will Public Believe McCain 'Doublespeak' -- Or the Press? AP Hits Palin for Not Taking Questions I keep wondering how liberal editorial minds work. All I can surmise is these stories are their psychological release, their only joyful moments, before the inevitable doomsday. Sick.

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