May
20
2009

On Bill O'Reilly's (Latest) Ignorant Gloating

Taking note of Bill O'Reilly's "cheerleading the downfall" of newspapers–"he reacted with glee when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was forced to go Web-only. More recently in his column, O'Reilly similarly wisecracked about the New York Times' financial woes"–MediaWeek editor Mike Shields (Editor & Publisher, 5/18/09) challenges "O'Reilly's theory for why these publications are in such deep trouble": Because they have suddenly shifted radically left in their coverage, and readers are rejecting it. That's why he's happy. That theory doesn't sync with the thinking of most sensible people in the media who understand the industry is going through massive macro changes, and […]

Mar
28
2009

Pelosi: More Corporatization for Failing News Corporations

Free Press' Craig Aaron and Joseph Torres (Guardian.co.uk, 3/26/09) promptly knock down the scary development in which Nancy Pelosi recently "asked attorney general Eric Holder to consider loosening antitrust laws to help out struggling newspapers by allowing more media mergers. Holder responded by saying he is open to revisiting the rules": Pelosi's request sounds innocuous at first–after all, struggling newspapers seem to need all the help they can get. But opening the door to more media consolidation is not the cure for the crisis in journalism. More of this bad medicine will only weaken reporting and worsen the health of […]

Mar
02
2009

Newspaper Profits Win Out Over Racial Progress

Reporting on last week's closure of the 150-year-old Denver Rocky Mountain News, Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!, 2/27/09) give us the financial backstory behind the fact that "the newspaper industry is going through a major, major upheaval in these last few days": "A lot of the papers ended up being bought in recent years, and their owners took on heavy debt to buy these papers out, and now they're finding now that the debt, the burden of the debt, plus the declining ad revenues, is creating major problems for them." That said, Gonzalez tells why he is "especially […]

Feb
26
2009

Newspapers Still Profitable; Wall Street Still Greedy

Media writer Nat Ives (AdvertisingAge.com, 2/23/09) throws some cold water on overheated reportage of "all the apocalyptic news about newspapers": Even as they take blow after blow from recession and digital media, newspapers themselves still earn decent profits…. "Not a lot of papers are operating at a loss," said John Morton, the veteran industry analyst. "There are roughly 1,400 daily newspapers. We only hear about the top markets. That leaves at least 1,300 papers out there." Publicly owned newspapers averaged an operating profit of 10.8 percent in the first three quarters of last year. In fact, Ives tells us that, […]