Tag: newspapers

Stuff I saved in my feed reader for the last seven days – 05/18/09

Floundering in a sea of change (UPDATED)

From you local newspaper…The Sydney Morning Herald:

Once again in America, fiction flounders in the wake of reality TV. So does the traditional media. When I wanted to get an unfiltered measure of Governor Palin, the last object I was going to trust was the world’s most famous news brand, The New York Times.

By the way, how are US papers fairing financial nowadays?

UPDATE: Answer – for crap.

“I didn’t open my browser all weekend” Monday

Cycled and fished instead – not regretting it either

  • Sam Zell “bought a terrible business” – newspapers. I think Zell has it right when he says newspapers have to give customers what they want, not what some internal agenda prescribes. As a result, I admire the man, and hope he doesn’t wind up paying a terrible price.
  • Is Yahoo! manipulating bloggers? Doubtful – such action would create even more of a black purple eye. If anything, it’s more likely a renegade faction within. Then again, blog manipulation (i.e. shutting them down) seems to have found its way into the political process. Quelling discontent, or just one more way of saying blogs are really starting to matter?
  • Should Congress let home prices fall? You’ll get a resounding “yes” out of me – propping up asset classes, particularly right before elections, is a way for politicians to feign working for the better good. Unfortunately, situations generally wind up worse as a result, and history has a way of repeating itself. You’ve been hearing about government’s plans for saving the housing market going on a year now – nothing seems to be sticking, and maybe that is the best possible outcome.
  • And my prediction for the week…

  • Citadel Investment Group will soon make an offer to purchase the country of Iceland. Citadel bought multi-strategy fund Amaranth Advisors when it made bad bets on natural gas. It bought Sowood and portions of E*Trade after their sub-prime dice rolls. Now banking is melting down, and the volcanic island of Iceland is going with it. Why not?

UPDATE: Via Steven Pearlstein

Since last June, we’ve seen a fairly consistent pattern to the economic mood swings. Every three months or so, there’s a round of bad news about housing, followed by warnings of more bank write-offs and then a string of disappointing corporate earnings reports.

Let’s not forget the government announcements of salvation immediately thereafter. Me thinks Mr. Pearlstein is spot on, and you should read the whole thing.

Who said print media is dead?

Well just about everyone. But it depends on where you look.

Newspapers are crying “Craigslist, Craigslist!” Mags just blame blogs (I think). But no matter where you turn in the print media realm, some entrenched someone is blaming the internet for their woes. Personally, I think the above mentioned problems stem from piss poor content. A recently lobotomized chimpanzee could probably still reason that much of what they are reading, otherwise passed off as “news”, is really some journo’s half-baked attempt to skew the issue of the day to their fancy (while they wait for their contract buyout). Plainly and simply, it’s primarily bunk.

There are, however, a few good tithings within. Plenty of publications are getting bought out by guys who think Google is stealing their content. This levels the playing field by letting a few shareholders save face, and it keeps Google somewhat in check (baseless lawsuits notwithstanding). And there are plenty of blogs out there that get to opine endlessly about the need for print publications to adapt – some of these folks will eventually succumb to gainful employment as the VP’s of Internet Strategy for these dinosaurs, and many developers will make a few bucks setting up in-house blogging networks. Additionally, a few feed aggregators get bought, and some twenty-something MBA school dropouts get to pay Mom, Dad, and J.P. Morgan Chase back. Several years from now mainstream print publications will figure out whether their desperate attempts worked. I suspect many won’t last that long.

Meanwhile, those three-inch thick books that wind up on your doorstep (i.e. yellow pages)? Well, they’re print – pretty much newsprint, just bound. They take up a lot of paper and press time. They’re given away. There are few internet-oriented barriers to entry. Time to dig another grave?

Uh, nope. They seem to be thriving. Maybe it is because they whine less.

UPDATE/ADDITIONAL: Peter Kafka says the economic downturn is making magazines bleed. A comparison of rate cards to home prices? Very original.

Many Top Papers Take Big Hits

Latest newspaper circulation report:

The Audit Bureau of Circulations released circulation numbers for more than 700 daily newspapers this morning for the six-month period ending September 2007…According to an analysis of ABC figures, for 538 daily U.S. newspapers, circulation declined 2.5% to 40,689,617. For 609 papers that filed on Sunday, overall circulation dropped 3.5% to 46,771,486. The percentages are based on comparisons from the same period a year ago.

Uglier for some of the bigger papers, and I suspect some of the numbers are downright bogus as well.

UPDATE: Unaudited circulation disaster details here.

Why This Former Newspaper Publisher Won’t Buy $16 Subscription

A bit of a rant (and you’ll have to read between the lines to find any inferred solutions), but an interesting read nonetheless.

Google Cuts Deal With AP

Maybe newspapers had reason to be paranoid after all. Let’s file this under “one foot in the grave.”

UPDATE: While this would seem like a crisis for those in print, the Economist notes that Google hasn’t really faced a crisis yet themselves. Nevermind.

UPDATE 2: Matthew Ingram says Google and the wire services just torpedoed the newspapers. Dale Dougherty reminds us that the news was already burning.

To fight Google, you now need Apache gunships and an exorcist

Newspapers vote Google worse than Osama bin Laden.

They’re also the new anti-christ.

We’re approaching a crescendo – the point just before the headlights meet the deer.

Will Google kill old media, or the other way around?

Henry Blodget (yes, that Henry) gives us a quick and dirty analysis of the “great sucking sound” drawing ad revenue away from old media and over to Google. He concludes by noting:

“Traditional media executives are doing a superb job of milking cash flow out of shrinking businesses, but you can’t save your way to prosperity. The smartest companies acknowledge this and are 1) returning cash flow to shareholders, 2) diversifying via M&A (as the Washington Post has done), and/or investing in or buying promising interactive businesses.”

I’ll add that Google isn’t solely to blame – they are just a distributor and broker – it’s everyone else producing the content. And there are plenty more ways to distribute said content popping up every day, and plenty more ways to get ads associated with it (and more joining the party each and every day as well). I’m still with the “old media content sucks” crowd, but of course those tried and true journalist types would never think to look within to find the error of their ways.

Meanwhile, Mike Masnick summarizes the hilarity: papers have gone from denial, to blame, to downright insanity; they now think Google should buy up newspapers, and then leave the editorial alone.

I sincerely believe Google is not that foolish.

BONUS: Some additional (if moderately sarcastic) commentary from Mr. Blodget on that flagging ad revenue (and why “newspapers are screwed”).

Bloggers, journalism and newspapers

The last line of the second comment here should provoke a lot of whining.