Bankruptcies are coming.
Newspapers routinely cover the financial troubles of airlines, car makers and sporting-goods stores. What they don’t often cover is the bankruptcies of newspapers. That’s because newspapers rarely go bankrupt.
That’s about to change. Across the United States, newspaper revenues are declining, along with circulation. As the American economy totters on the edge of recession, those declines are becoming precipitous and more pronounced than elsewhere. The Newspaper Association of America reports that classified newspaper advertising shrank by 16.5 per cent in 2007.
Circulation declines are also accelerating: Nationwide, newspaper circulation as of March 31 was down 3.6 per cent from the same time the year before; the year before that, it was down only 2.1 per cent. The Standard & Poor’s Publishing & Printing Index is declining at three times the rate of decline of the S&P 1500.
The Sunday edition of The New York Times is arguably the best newspaper in the world. Its circulation has declined almost 10 per cent in the past year alone, although part of the reason was management’s decision to cut back on discounted papers.
The problem is not across the board. National papers with well-educated readerships, such as the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, are doing quite well. But metropolitan dailies, especially in the ultra-competitive U.S. market, are suffering.
In the immortal words of Kos “screw them.” They’re not hurting because of the (“it keeps coming, we’re sure it will be here soon”) “recession”. They’re hurting because they’re dishonest partisans and the pretense that they aren’t has worn thin (thank you, long Democrat Primary. It was a lot of fun watching Democrats come to realize that, not only are the press dishonest partisans, but they’re not always on any individual’s side (there having been both pro-Clinton and pro-Obama partisans “reporting” the “news”)).
They’re also getting hurt because their obvious left-wing bias is driving away more than half of their potential readership. I love the attempt to explain why the Wall Street journal isn’t getting hurt: “National papers with well-educated readerships … are doing quite well.” Um, last I checked the New York Times was a “national papers with well-educated readership.” The difference is that the NYT is an agenda driven left wing rag, and the WSJ is a relatively honest newspaper.
They’re getting hammered because they are failures at the job they claim to be doing, which is reporting the news. Good riddance to bad rubbish.