Thursday, August 7, 2008

More Bad News for Newspapers, Part IV? Part V?

It's difficult to keep track these days. Another day, another piece of bad news for the newspaper industry.

I write this, as always, as someone who loves newspapers, and wants to see them succeed.

But things are pretty bad, and the New York Times continues its coverage of an industry in decline. Check out "Newspapers Could Be Bargains, but Few Are Buying" by Richard Perez-Pena.

This time out, Perez-Pena reports that a lot of newspapers are being shopped around, but no one's really interested.

Or, to pick up the quote from Ken Doctor, a newspaper analyst with Outsell, "A year ago, the conventional wisdom was, 'Yep, there are problems out there, but there's still significant value. Now it's 'Run away."

The latest paper hitting a wall is the Newark Star-Ledger by David Carr. Owned by Advance Publications, which is owned in turn by the billionaire Newhouse family, the Newark Star-Ledger is, in the words of of Donald E. Newhouse, president of Advance, "cannot be sustained by us or anyone else...This is the reality we face. The perfect storm. And it shows no sign of letting up."

That could be a negotiating tactic with the unions -- and Advance is asking unions and non-union employees to make concessions. But the Newhouses tend to be good owners, a case Carr makes.
The Newark Star-Ledger is a good paper.

But that may not be enough to keep it going.

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