May 9, 2007

WHILE BOB MCCHESNEY AND I HAVE BEEN TALKING about the future of news media, the poor folks at Scripps have been trying to do something about it. Here’s the latest internal memo, which faces the bad news admirably:

You’ve no doubt read about recent challenges in the newspaper business. We’re certainly not immune to many of these trends.

In the first quarter of this year, our total revenues were down 7.8% compared to last year, our expenses were down slightly, and our profit was down 28%. Many of our industry peers posted similar results. While online revenue remained strong (up 20%), total ad revenue fell due to classified advertising declines at our larger papers, as well as some softness in retail advertising.

The long and the short of it is that any business that has declining revenues and sharply declining profits must do something about it.

Some suggestions on what to do can be found in the comments, here.

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