Monday, December 11, 2006

Why is Print News Media Down?

From a recent New York Times article:

Not Boasting, Even Though He Could

Last Wednesday afternoon, Donald E. Graham, the chief executive of the Washington Post Company, arrived in Manhattan for the Credit Suisse media week for analysts and told them, well, not much.

“For those of you who are seeing us for the first time, the shareholder audience and those of you who might become shareholders is who we are talking to,” he said, beginning with a friendly brush-back to Wall Street analysts that has become something of a tradition over the years. “We don’t do quarters; we don’t do forecasts,” he said.

The Washington Post newspaper is hurting, with advertising sales down 11 percent in the third quarter and circulation off 3.3 percent in the six months ended in September. Newsroom layoffs of an unspecified number are in the offing.Mr. Graham said Wednesday that “2006 has been a poor year for every newspaper that I know of,” pointing out later that “during the summer,
things changed drastically.

“Our print advertising revenues in the last four months have been poor, considerably poorer than I would have expected,” he said.If he has any quick fixes, he didn’t share them. Beyond talking about the growth in the company’s Web sites and a cheesy- sounding buyer loyalty program called Postpoints, there was no grand plan. And Mr. Graham plainly said he did not know how it would all end. Katharine Graham assured the newspaper’s journalistic legacy by hiring the best and ferociously backing them. Her son is staring down a far more chronic challenge and solving it not with journalism, but with financial engineering. There won’t be any movies made about that, but if you care about good journalism, it may be just as important.

You have to hand it to them (Media Folk), they sure spin a quality yarn.

While print media is down again for the third straight year, some executives can still paint the picture rosy. While blaming web traffic for a portion of the losses, (which could be argued), these media elites still refuse to consider their content, or lack of it. The fact that 90% of the print media is left leaning and biased against conservative thought never seems to cross their minds.

And now they have this new problem that has yet to been dealt with; their main supplier of the bulk of their content has come into question of the validity of their content. (Eason Jordan revisited)

In short------Associated Press (AP) has been exposed to some serious allegations of creating content for the soul purpose of setting the shape of world views. Links here and here.

As of this post, AP has refused to retract or positively confirm that "Six Sunnis were burned Alive" last month in Iraq, while many in the blogosphere, and finally some in national publications are questioning if the story was not a total fabrication. (AP lied---publications died)

Now the world believes that six sunnis were burned alive with the content provided by a single source (Capt Jamal Hussein) who has yet to have been produced and is not who AP says he is. And 99% of our nations print media published this story to their readership implying that it was the truth and without a doubt.

While the baptism of AP does not seem to be forthcoming, the credibility of a world-wide news source may be deminished right before the elite media's eyes. This may be described as "Rather-gate to the tenth power". And advertisers and stockholders may want to look at diversifying their portfolios.

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