Thursday, February 7, 2008

The downfall of journalism

There's slightly more concern about the future of the newspaper industry after recent reports indicate both cyclical and structural revenue patterns for newspaper are headed south — fast.

Companies and newsrooms across the country are facing — or have already faced — deep cuts in staff and resources. Yet profit margins at some of the big boys, some of the ones making these huge slashes on the face of serious journalism, remain a normal stockholder's dream.

Even though the raw dollar figures are down, Southern U.S. newspaper chain Media General reported a 17 percent profit margin for 2007. Gannett, the nation's largest paper chain, saw margins of 21 percent.

(Note: Despite these heavy-hitters, some papers truly are just trying to stay afloat.)

Ironically, the Internet means more people than ever read newspapers, and more people expect the type of hard-hitting, fact-digging journalism that these budget cuts tend to hurt.

It's a downward spiral, and until newspapers are either content with smaller profits or find away to fully harness the Internet as a money-making tool, the profession will continue to degrade.

No comments: