The newspaper industry continues to draw its bloodbath. It is ugly and unfortunately will get uglier.
The New York Times is trying to borrow against its swanky, new building to ease what the Times itself calls “a potential cash flow squeeze as the company grapples with tighter credit and shrinking profits.” Silicon Alley Insider continues to provide updates on the Times’ predicament. Meanwhile, the (Chicago and Los Angeles, amongst other cities) Tribune Company files for bankruptcy.
The incredible shrinking Seattle Times (down to three sections as of today in an unabashed effort to reduce their two biggest expenses: “staff and newsprint”) is also trying to unload real estate as well amongst other cost-cutting measures. I have to say the New York Times’ building is the swankier.
How long before the stewards of the op-ed pages, having loyally supported bailouts for other industries, call for their own bailout? Surely the basic American tradition of a free press (insert obligatory Benjamin Franklin sidebar here) must be preserved. Following the footsteps of the auto industry, they can put a veneer of eco-spin on it and claim they only need transitory government support to make the shift to a tree-friendly, digital-only product. A government-appointed “news czar”, with the help of various House and Senate reelection committees, can no doubt clear up any unresolved issues with the newspaper industry’s business model. And who could resist the sight of newspaper executives making their way to our nation’s capital, not in private jets, but on foot and by bicycle, like the humble paperboys who embody the work ethic and dedication to local community of the newspaper industry they are trying to save. [If your industry needs help framing its bailout case, I am available for consultation].