Newspaper industry statistics in the United States may look grim, but it seems a bit premature to put a $60-billion industry on the endangered species list, says Fortune's Richard Siklos.
Newspapers down but definitely not out
Print ads are shrinking and layoffs are legion, but there remains much to cheer in the troubled newspaper business, argues Fortune's Richard Siklos.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Last week could hardly have been grimmer for the newspaper industry. First off, Gannett (Charts, Fortune 500) and McClatchy (Charts) - the two biggest newspapers publishers in the U.S., respectively - reported diminished revenues and profits. Meanwhile, following the lead of Belo, publisher of the Dallas Morning News, Scripps announced it was splitting its growing television and interactive businesses off from the company's newspaper business so that investors could get excited about the company's slumping stock price.
The kicker of the week was when stock in the New York Times Company (Charts) hit its lowest point in a decade after a Morgan Stanley fund manager who had been agitating for changes at the company sold off the firm's entire 7.2% stake. Also last week, the equity research arm of Morgan Stanley laid off its newspaper analyst and dropped coverage of the industry, the Times itself noted wryly in its pages. This was almost certainly a coincidence. Otherwise, it might be construed as one heck of a kiss off. The present question in newspaperland is not whether the industry can reclaim its glory, but rather how quickly the erosion in business conditions that has accelerated in the past year or so can be slowed and even reversed.Read more here.