24 October 2008

Today's Press: Ups, Downs, and Overs

Are newspapers, old-fashioned pen-and-ink type newspapers of the sort that a young person might plop onto your porch in the morning, dinosaurs? Are the present remnants of a once-proud industry just the decaying carcasses left after the mass extinction?

Some points to ponder:

1. Good news. Newspaper readers are better educated and more affluent than TV news viewers. According to one recent survey, 70% of the readership of the average newspaper consists of households with incomes of more than $60,000 annually. This compares to about 40% for CNN and Fox News. Presumably this makes the tree killers of continued value to advertisers.

2. Bad news. The stock of the parent corporation of the US "paper of record," The New York Times Co., is now down in the sub-$10.50 per share neighborhood. It hasn't been this low for at least a decade. The Times Co. stock spent most of the period between the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 above $40 a share. It was briefly above $50 in mid 2002.

On a related front, the NYT has announced its profits for the third quarter of 2008. They're down 51% from the 3d quarter of last year.

3. Moving on and starting over?

I don't know what to make of this, as to whether it is good news or bad for the NYT or for newspapers as such ... but ... famous/notorious former New York Times reporter Judith Miller is going over to television. Fox News announced Monday that she will "provide commentary and analysis on national security issues, counterterrorism, and international affairs, including the Middle East...."

Here's her blog.

Just putting this stuff out there. Make up your own WMD punchline.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.