Forbes on the news biz

Dateline: Mon 27 Oct 2008

Thanks to reader/friend Tom Henderson for sending a link to a Forbes article on newspapers and their woes. Here are the first few graphs from James Erik Abels, published Friday:

"There's nothing like bad news to sell newspapers. Unless there are no newspapers left to sell.

"Many people are wondering if this may soon be a reality. Revenues were in free-fall last week at many of the country's largest newspaper companies. "The only hope is that as we get through the spring, the rate of [the advertising] decline starts to ease up," says newspaper analyst Edward Atorino of The Benchmark Co.

"On Friday, Gannett Co. (nyse: GCI - news - people ) reported that third-quarter revenue fell 9% from the same quarter last year to $1.64 billion. Other companies fared no better: The New York Times Company (nyse: NYT - news - people ) said total revenues fell 8.9% in the third quarter year over year to $687 million. And McClatchy (nyse: MNI - news - people ) posted third-quarter revenues of $451.6 million, down 16.4% over the same quarter last year."

The conclusion is that there may be some dim hope for smaller papers or papers that go private. But in the meantime, expect more layoffs and cost-cutting, because the old business model no longer works.

But we all knew that, right?

Here is the link

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The Star's editorial weakness

Dateline: Mon 27 Oct 2008

Those few of us who still read the Star's editorial pages opened Sunday's section with curiosity: who would the paper endorse for President?

What a wimp-out. Citing hopeless divisions among the eight members of the editorial board, the paper chose to leave the decision to voters. We all know how this went down: the McCaiin camp included editorial page editor Tim Swarens, cartoonist Gary Varvel, columnist Russ Pulliam and very likely Jane Lichtenberg. That left publisher Michael Kane, exec editor Dennis Ryerson, op-ed columnist Dan Carpenter and Beth Murphy for Obama. In the past, Ryerson has made welcome changes on the editorial pages, offering more perspective (liberal points of view), sometimes, albeit, in heavy-handed fashion.

But Sunday he and the other big cheeses wimped out.

However, this was a non-issue I brought it up Sunday at the Obama HQ in Broad Ripple. In fact, out of a room of 8 or so people, no one, save me, had even read the Sunday paper.

As Guy said, "Nobody cares what the Star does anyhow." Of course, edorsing either Sen. McCain or Sen. Obama would have been gutty. But now we know why The Star is truly irrelevant.

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Obama in driver's seat in Indiana

Dateline: Wed 22 Oct 2008

In case you did not get this email, here's the latest word from Dan Parker, chair of the Indiana Democrats:

"Today, a new poll released by Public Policy Polling reveals that

Barack Obama is in the lead in Indiana! This latest poll has him leading John McCain, 48 percent to 46 percent. And, he has a commanding lead amongst independent voters."

Early voting is also taking place at a record pace. All good news, although I hope Mitch Daniels prevails as governor. Matt Tully's column today is more evidence for why Jill Long Thompson's inadequate message is simply not picking up steam.

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Two new blogs

Dateline: Wed 22 Oct 2008

Kelly Jones Sharp is a frequent contributor to the Star's culture watch on the op-ed pages; she covers about everything from politics to personal relationships, often provocatively. Like most writers, she has more to say than any newspaper can ever publish. Check out her musings on her new blog:

Also being added to the blog roll is cooking nurse. Why? She's Canadian and a nurse; she sounds a little like my Thai daughter-in-law when she writes. But this is a democratic site, and besides all that, she has what sounds like a good recipe for apple strudel. And Hoosiers love apple strudel...don't we?

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The baby is my boss...

Dateline: Tue 21 Oct 2008

Hence musings have been scarce of late. That, plus the baby has had pink eye, an ear infection, and a continually runny nose ("Nose!") which he generously shared. That, plus moving to the tiniest and most modest house in Butler-Tarkington, have provided their own small challenges.

The baby is no fan of politics or city life in general. He prefers Wiggles with an occasional side trip to a You Tube video of a hippo and a dog performing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," altho yesterday I tricked him into watching Alvin and the Chipmunks. His idea of getting out is the park, with a side trip to Illinois Street Food Emporium. "Cookie!"

I'm working now, providing baked potatoes, baths and bottles for the baby, and picking up his older brother from St. Thomas Aquinas. Pink eye delayed my corneal transplant until Nov. 5. Thank you, baby.

But life goes on. Look later today for a post on two new blogs in town.

And how about "that one"? Speaking of the activity, I was pleased to run into an old source, Carl Rising-Moore, at Obama headquarters. He's the tall, blondish guy in blue jeans standing at a Broad Ripple corner every evening, selling Obama yard signs. (He will barter). Funny, I used to think of Carl as radical. Now he's just another comrade.

God bless America, and God save the baby.

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