There has been speculation for some time as to the health or otherwise of a number of US newspapers, with a wide belief that bankruptcies were imminent. This one appears to be one of the smaller 2nd or 3rd tier companies, however there is also reason to believe some of the larger ones such as NYT are in deep trouble. There have been calls on some occasions for bailouts of these companies especially in Connecticut, on the grounds that they are “necessary for the community and will be a great loss if they fold.
The community it seems has made a different assessment of their worth with the result that circulations are falling and naturally advertising revenue is following. The really disturbing possibility with newspaper bailouts is the potential for partisan reporting on any legislator who opposes them.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Journal Register Co. filed Saturday for bankruptcy protection from its creditors and said slumping advertising revenue and circulation are to blame.
In the Chapter 11 filing in US Bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Journal Register proposed a restructuring plan in which it would cancel its stock and become a closely held company controlled by its lenders.
The Yardley, Pa.-based newspaper publisher reported $596 million in assets as of Nov. 30 and $692 million in debt, including unpaid interest. Revenue has fallen more than 20 percent since 2006, the company said in the court filing.
There is a tendency among commentators to blame the current economic problems for this situation, along with the growing influence of the Internet. I have to note though that in many of these reports, including this one that there is reference to the last couple of years, note: - Revenue has fallen more than 20 percent since 2006.
There is another probable cause in my opinion, and that is that they have lost touch with the public at large, and have in the last election cycle seriously pissed off a fairly large proportion of their readers. The Journal Register like many others leans heavily liberal, (This is disputed by Steve Collins below). While in the past media have often favored one or another party, in the last election there was blatancy about it.
Few people are so biased as to be angered at reporting of things that may harm their parties chances, we all make mistakes, our candidates are the same, and when these are reported most of us are intellectually honest enough to accept that, “That was a stuff up.” Problems arise though when there is a constant bombardment of negatives toward one side while nothing but positive news is reported on the other. If media constantly beat one side of the spectrum around the heads, those people stop buying those papers.
In times past, it has been possible to get away with this as there has been no real way for contrary information to get out, at least for those who don’t go to the rallies and meetings. If there was extreme negativity on the part of the media, then many would simply think that their team really stank, but those other fellows look pretty good anyway. This is no longer the case.
The Internet with its influential sites with their interlocking circles of influence ensures that a high proportion of the public is aware of what is going on. The media has overplayed its hand, and in the words of one person made famous in the campaign, “Your chickens are coming home to roost.”