Saturday, January 17, 2009

Death throes of print media

FITS News says print media is in death throes, and gives the recent evidence.

“If you can write, you’ll always have a job” one of our journalism professors told us a long time ago, although for hundreds of American reporters, where (and what) that job might end up being is becoming less certain these days.

After basically electing Barack Obama to the presidency, many mainstream media scribes may be rewarded for their efforts by waiting in Great Depression-Style unemployment lines for one of his New Deal 2.0 construction jobs (like these, or these).

Today the Boston Globe announced it was slashing 50 jobs, a day after another Top 20 paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, filed for bankruptcy.

Earlier this week Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in America, said it would force workers to schedule a week off without pay. This comes on the heels of 3,000 lost jobs in 2008 that included several positions being cut at the Greenville News.

Last month, the Seattle Times cut over 30 jobs from its newsroom and editorial staff, although it’s faring much better than the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which will be forced to close its doors if no buyer is found for it by the end of this month - a fate shared by the Rocky Mountain News.

Cox News is closing its Washington D.C. bureau in April, while putting the Austin American-Statesman and several of its smaller papers up for sale in a desperate attempt to raise money.

Ditto for McClatchy, which is trying in vain to find a buyer for the Miami Herald in an effort to put a dent in the company’s $2 billion debt.

Owners of La Socialista (a.k.a. The State) and several other South Carolina papers, McClatchy has seen its stock value disappear almost completely this year.

The Tribune Company has already filed for bankruptcy, slashing 400 positions in the process, and the New York Times just took out a second mortgage on its new building to help pay down its $225 million debt.

The trend is just as bad North of the border, where last month Quebecor Inc’s Sun Media announced it was cutting 600 jobs - or 10% of the work force of Canada’s largest newspaper publisher.



Anonymous said...

Gannett says it will sell or close Tucson Citizen
The Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — Gannett Co. Inc. will close the Tucson Citizen if it does not find a buyer by March 21.

Anonymous said...

Pru said paying higher interest rates would act as a cushion in a downturn. Was that a whoopee cushion, or what?
In 2008 Gary Pruitt negotiated a deal which bought about two years of flexibility on $2 billion in debt by agreeing to higher interest rates.

“It gives us headroom and [cushion] in a downturn, besides having lower debt relative to cash flow, we have more time to pay it off.”

Unless amended, the $40 million payment is due early 2009; most of the remaining debt comes due in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Will you stop with the good news already? I just got up, and haven’t ingested my morning coffee quite yet.

Might I selfishly suggest that you post such great news, say 11:00 am Pacific Time. That way I can savor this fantastic news while fully awake.

Alternatively, how about late at night after all the detective shows? This way I can better conjure a vivid picture of the media’s disembowels fest.

Kevin Gregory said...

Anonymous 8:01 time stops for no man.

Anonymous said...

A j-school student recently remarked that upon graduation he was in a great position to find employment. His reasoning was that he could work for less, and would accept less benefits in these troubled times. I found the thinking that he could displace current employees incredulous, and wondered if that is the new j-school hype to keep students in the journalism department?

I think that used to be called cannibalism.