Tuesday Morning 10/27/09

‘This is the end of the newspaper business, full stop, not the end of the newspaper business as we know it.’


Megan McArdle in Atlantic: “For 20 years, newspapers have been trying to slow the process with increasingly desperate cost cutting, but almost all are at the end of that rope; they can’t cut their newsroom or production staff any further and still put out a newspaper. There just aren’t enough customers who are willing to pay for their product what it costs to produce it.”

Fast exit: “Newspapers’ long, slow goodbye may be shorter, faster.” [The Wrap]

Decline: “Give the way the circulation numbers read today, nobody would accuse American newspapers of being too big to fail.” With audio. [Marketplace / American Public Media]

Avalanche: “The two-decade erosion in newspaper circulation is looking more like an avalanche.” Some publishers explain the circ drop as part of a deliberate strategy. [NY Times]  That’s the line in Dallas, where falling circulation was being blamed on the paper’s recent increase in newsstand and subscription charges, something that is said to net the newspaper a more valuable customer base. [Dallas Morning News]

Misery loves company: Monday’s number “proved unexpected dire for the newspaper business, and — prospectively more frightening — could turn out to be a systemic, rather than simply cyclical, change.” [Barron’s]

Back to where we once belonged: Long second-ran NY Post may still trail the Daily News, but while the News’ readership has evaporated over the years, the Post is pretty much where it was 20 years ago. That said, the Post lost almost 19 percent of its circulation last quarter; News circ dropped 14 percent. Graphic also shows 20 year trend for NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. [The Awl]

Speaking of pyrrhic victories… In competitive South Florida market, one paper moves ahead. [New Times Palm Beach]

Last man standing: USA Today and Wall Street Journal tussle over first place. WSJ gets the official nod, but USAT points out that it “remains number one in total daily print circulation.” [USA Today press release via Romenesko] WSJ responds that it “is the largest newspaper by paid circulation in the US” WSJ numbers include some paid Web readers. With video. [NY1]

Poynter explainer: Behind the circulation declines. [Poynter]

Poof: Several papers tried to explain away their falling circulation by asserting that, in fact, they have more readers than ever! Among many newspapers toting this line are these Californian: San Jose Mercury News, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Sacramento Bee. Also: “Declining circulation may not be the worst news in the world.” [Media Memo]


Enough excuses!

Here’s a post that look beyond the dismal numbers toward a creative search for salvation. The subject —  Tribune365 — a “multichannel sales solutions group” at the LA Times and Chicago Tribune (which were really big losers in Monday’s numbers game).

“That means no longer selling ads to national buyers through a bunch of different sales teams that sell different kinds of ads for this or that part of a paper or this or that part of a website or TV station.”

Certainly, this is not the answer, but it’s something. [Reuters blog]

Newshour discussion: Recognizing the problems, suggesting solutions. “The marketplace cannot support the level of journalism it was supporting before.” Transcript. [PBS]


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