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The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

July 24, 2008 / Toby Dayton

“We’re Looking At Some Of The Worst Advertising Numbers In The History Of The World” – Sam Zell

The quarterly numbers for daily newspaper publishers are starting to come out, and they’re pretty ugly. The New York Times reported yesterday that earnings fell by 82% with an 11% decline in revenue. Given how bad the environment is right now for daily newspapers in general but especially given the economic environment, there shouldn’t be many surprises in how bad the numbers are going to be. McClatchy is sinking under huge debt loads, Lee’s stock recently hit a 28 year low, and as recently reported in Time Magazine, it’s time to hit the panic button for the entire industry.

In the ‘no $#@!$#’ department, a recent study by the Pew Research Center found that after layoffs, newspapers shrink in size. What a shock. I wish I could get paid to arrive at those kind of conclusions. But while the findings of the study are obvious, it is still shocking to see the tangible impact of the staff cuts that are taking place everywhere around the country. With Sam Zell’s Tribune Company, for example, where the cuts have been draconian, the result is as follows (as reported by followthemedia.com):

The cutbacks have been savage. At the Los Angeles Times, for instance, there currently is no publisher, there is a brand new editor, there is no advertising director, no foreign editor, no editor overlooking the editorial pages, the UN bureau chief is gone, as are another 150 editors,  reporters, designers, photographers and the like. Bock review and opinion sections are disappearing. At the flagship Chicago Tribune, the publisher and editor both went, and 14% of the newsroom will be cut for a newly designed, smaller newspaper. The Morning Call in Pennsylvania announced it was cutting 25% of the newsroom, the Courant in Hartford is cutting around 25% of its newsroom and the list goes on for all the other newspaper properties.

Maybe I should add L.A. into the race between Minneapolis and Chicago to see which major metro loses its daily newspaper first.