The newspaper industry had a lot of bad knocks this year. Advertising revenue continued to decline, when just about every other media sector — like local broadcast TV, for example — rebounded beautifully. For newspaper companies the term “moderating ad revenue declines” has become the new flat.
Under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the Wall Street Journal has made no bones that the New York Times is enemy No.1. But that hit list doesn’t stop at the Gray Lady. From time to time, the Journal pivots to set USA Today in its crosshairs — and its latest actions mark a move in that direction.
I’ve always been thankful that my grandparents were good at playing the real estate game. Among their unlikely coups was buying a house in the 1960’s in Edgartown, the tony enclave on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, whose exclusive address had no correspondence to their income level. If they hadn’t bought it, there’s no way that my journalist’s salary would have been able to scoop up property like that. In the more than three decades that I’ve been going there, I’ve become a regular reader of the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette, the enormous broadsheet newspaper that has resisted the cost-cutting size reductions that many other newspapers in the United States have sustained.
On the first day of one of my journalism classes, the teacher produced a large metal ring with a short rope fastened to it. The ring was made to be installed in a bull’s nose, he explained; and the rope – called a lead – let you guide him wherever you wanted. The point was clear, if somewhat condescending: Writing a good lead lets the journalist guide the reader around like cattle.
If anything demonstrates the stark contrast between the buttoned-up Tribune Co of yore versus the radio jockeys -led Tribune Co of now, it’s the illustration that greets readers on the Chicago Tribune web site’s error page.
The Magazine Publishers of America said on Friday that it is renaming itself the MPA — The Association of Magazine Media. The notable difference is the omission of the word publishers. Why?
Newspaper publishers are still laboring to reverse a massive decline in advertising revenue — the Newspaper Association of America reported that total industry ad revenue fell 6% in Q2 — but you sure wouldn’t know it over at The Wall Street Journal.
For those following Gannett Co. second quarter earnings on Friday, a familiar name might be popping in on the line. Douglas Arthur — the sharp analyst late of Morgan Stanley known for such hits as “Knight Ridder: A Scenario Analysis”– is back covering the sector again. Or something akin to it.
Pity paper and ink. Over the next five years magazine and newspapers’ advertising and consumer spending (read: subscriptions) growth rate is expected to decline, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The firm released its annual Media and Entertainment Outlook for 2010-2014 and that is one of the more striking, if not predictable, data points in the forecast.