At his blog Etaoin Shrdlu, former McClatchy VP for News Howard Weaver mocked newspaper analyst Michael Simonton for saying last month that a McClatchy default was "imminent or inevitable." Weaver engaged in -- his words -- "a delightful dip in a pool of revenge and schadenfreude." Weaver boasted the latest Wall Street numbers suggest Simonton was "not just wrong, but stupid wrong."
McClatchy's stock price certainly rebounded in a big way since 2nd quarter earnings were announced.
But McClatchy isn't out of the woods. Far from it. (Ad revenues are dropping at 30% a year -- how many more quarters can the company survive at that clip, Howard??)
Howard has a track record of embarrassing predictions himself.
Just one example.
Go back to June, 2008. The same month McClatchy laid off 1,400 employees, the company announced it had added a new VP for advertising position. Some employees complained. Weaver responded with a prediction:
"Steve Bernard, the new VP/Advertising, is coming on board to increase revenues. He will pay for his salary by hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. You ought to be celebrating that announcement."
Let's take a look at Weaver's prediction that Stephen Bernard would increase ad revenues and "pay for his salary by hundreds, perhaps thousands of times."
From McClatchy's most recent Form 8-K, here are the key advertising numbers:
Quarter 2 2008 advertising revenues: $406.3 million
Quarter 2 2009 advertising revenues: $283.6 million
difference: - $122.7 million
So in the year since Bernard took the newly-created VP position, and Weaver predicted Bernard would pay for his salary "by hundreds, perhaps thousands of times", MNI's ad revenues haven't increased at all. In fact, they have dropped -- by a whopping $122.7 million.
Howard was wrong. You could even say stupid wrong.