Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday June 5 -- Got news or an update?

If you have news or an update, leave it in comments.


Anonymous said...

There are noticeably fewer comments on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Star-Telegram picnic was the best ever. Can't wait for the next one.

John Altevogt said...

8:45 Yes, we seemed to have lost our usual quota of 3 troll insults for every decent post. Amazingly, they haven't been missed.

Anonymous said...

Holy cow. The comments section has been cleaned up! Definitely good news; I will stop by more often.

And I will definitely go to Brooks Brothers for the new shirt I need. They have a solid reputation for good clothes; they've now boosted their reputation with me far beyond their products.

And kudos to MW, not only for this new direction, but also for taking heat in those bizarre, and frankly scary, threatening emails he's been getting. That person isn't a bona-fide liberal, or he'd be aware of our longstanding policy of change through NONVIOLENT resistance. And that includes what we say and write.

McClatchy Watch said...

The guy who made the threats is still lurking around, he's trying to disguise his comments, though.

Anonymous said...

Jesus. OK, be careful. I hope this guy is all talk. Scary.

Anonymous said...

The US newspaper industry could close out 2009 with total sales of less than $30 billion — a 40% drop in just four years.

The wreckage is across the board — even online sales were off more than 13% — but the worst-hit sectors were cyclical ones: Employment classified advertising down 67.4%; Real estate classifieds off 45.6% and automotive classifieds down 43.4%. All in all, classified ad sales were down 42.3% for the quarter. In records published by the NAA that date to 1950, there is no precedent for the sort of decline suffered in the first three months of this year.

The Newspaper Association of America's latest monthly statistical report shows that in April, newsprint consumption fell almost 28% to 350,000 metric tons year-over-year. Over a seven-year period, newsprint consumption plunged 50% from April 2003, when the industry consumed roughly 710,000 metric tons of newsprint.

Unless newspapers can figure out how to reduce their high fixed costs of printing and circulation, their already low credit ratings could fall even farther, Moody's Investors Service warns in a report released Thursday.

The newspaper industry's fundamental problem, Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst John Puchalla writes in the report, is that is spending far too much on producing and delivering a printed paper than on creating its content and selling the product.

Moody's calls it a "structural disconnect" with just 14% of cash operating costs, on average, devoted to content creation, while about 70% of costs are devoted to printing, distribution and corporate functions. The remaining 16% of costs are related to advertising sales -- another example of devoting too few resources to the principal revenue driver.

"This disconnect is a legacy of the industry's vertical integration beyond content creation and into the production and distribution of newspapers," Puchalla said.

The high fixed costs – combined with high debt among many newspaper companies – is squeezing cash flow as revenue declines.

"Ultimately, we expect the industry will need to reverse the vertical integration strategy through cross-industry collaboration and outsourcing print production and distribution processes," Puchalla said. "Although newspapers may lose some of their in-house control over press time, they would also release resources to beef up investment in content and technology."

Moving to an online-only model is probably not practical right now, Moody's adds, but it says a "hybrid model" combining a greater emphasis on Web content with reduced print frequency might be the answer.

Moody's says this "structural disconnect" also threatens the credit ratings of newspaper companies, which are already depressed compared to historical levels. Nearly all publicly traded newspaper companies now have credit ratings considered below investment-grade, or "junk" -- including such respected chains as The New York Times Co. and Gannett Co. Inc.

Low credit ratings increase the cost of borrowing, and reduce access to money not just from lenders but from institutions that will not hold stock in junk-rated companies.

The bad news, Puchalla said is that as low as newspaper credit ratings are now, "additional downward pressure remains."

"If newspapers can't monetize the content in new digital channels at the same level as with print, or cut structural costs enough to keep up with the changing competitive environment, the prospect of additional recapitalizations or shutdowns will grow, adding further pressure to ratings," he added.

There's more on Moody's analysis, including a link to the full report, at E&P's business-oriented Fitz & Jen blog.

Anonymous said...

Ref 10:31. Interesting article, but once again they will not address that the newspaper industry starts each day with roughly 50% of their potential customer base alienated. They don't seem to care or aren't interested in addressing that as their biggest issue.

In any business there is the old adage that "Sales Cures Most Ills". If you can't sell your product, you can't survive. Marketing 101 at play here.

But how many times can you point out unbalanced reporting and publishing until your customers and potential customers ignore and move on. Dufus still rules in the newspaper/magazine industry!!

Anonymous said...

11:16, complaints of "unbalanced reporting" in most cases come from whoever doesn't think their view is being represented enough, or who thinks something they don't agree with or like is being covered too much. I used to hear complaints from both sides -- referring to the same story!

Anonymous said...

I used to hear complaints from both sides -- referring to the same story!

Yeah, wasn't it cool how we would make that claim and never mention that there might be 500 complaints from one side and 2 from the other, but we'd make that claim anyway? That's what got me promoted.

Anonymous said...


I think his/her point was that people tend to see bias whenever their view isn't presented the way they want, whether liberal, conservative, or whatever.