Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Newspapers in financial trouble

Publisher and broadcaster Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

NewsMax and CNBC News have reported that The New York Times is seeking to mortgage their office building in New York in order to cover a $400 million debt payment coming due in a few months.

These are signs of the extraordinary loss of revenue plaguing historic media as a result of the public seeking its news from the Internet, the resulting diversion of advertisement, and the impact of the year long recession.

Hopefully the executives at Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. will take heed and allow its editors to conduct news coverage in an exemplary fashion in order to earn the public's patronage and support. Self serving and unethical practices of the past have resulted in much bad will and eroded credibility among potential subscribers and advertisers alike.

They also should be considering whether bold restructuring steps are needed to prevent similar financial problems in their future, especially in light of the fall in world wide commodity prices that may impair the profitability of their holding company's other investments. Although the ownership structure may currently provide top executives with a virtual free hand, they will not indefinitely be spared the harsh discipline of the marketplace.