I used to buy the idea the Internet was killing newspapers. I don't anymore. I believe the real killer has been a combination of bad management, out of touch newsrooms and the profit demands of publishers, who need the money to pay for their mergers and acquisitions. In April, I told the story of the Midland Free Press, once the best weekly paper in Canada, that has been asset stripped from a business with its own downtown office and press and a group of six very good reporters and editors to a one-person newsroom using rented a rented office and a printing contract. It wasn't the Internet that killed the Midland Free Press, it was four successive leveraged buy-outs headed by people who know nothing about newspaper publishing and saw journalism solely in terms of "cost".
As I've said, this recession will likely drive Canwest and Quebecor out of the newspaper business.
Here's a great piece. I see some managers have added the recession and the credit crunch to their list of things to blame for their failure to cover their communities and serve their readership. Readers of the Ottawa Citizen and New York times don't need or want wine columns, celebrity news or "me" joyrnalism by 55-year-old boomers. They want news that's really news to them.
Meanwhile, Torstar stock bounces along its 52-week low, worth half of what it was in 2004. Canwest, at just under $5, is worth 40% of what it was a year ago.
HT for the article to Small Dead Animals.