Recession Moon

090925 OLYMPUS Recession Moon, originally uploaded by niiicedave.

Moon hovers over depressed economy of near empty employer parking lots.

The newspaper business, sorry to say, was ruined by bubble investing and industry consolidation. The business became all about profit, not about news. As one great paper after another was acquired by media conglomerates as the politicians (the Republicans kind of pushed this philosophy relentlessly) relaxed ownership regulations, news departments got cut to chop expenses. With an unaware public supporting local papers that got bought up, quickly quality went down as newspaper content became shorter and lighter. Readership began to dwindle, customers turned elsewhere to get hard news, and then came a plunge in advertising revenues.
But profits were wild at first. The cost of running a newspaper was cut while readership and advertising was high, creating a gusher of profit, which then was used to attract speculation on Wall Street. Long story short, those profits were short lived, the papers were run into the ground. The huge corporations and wall street investors made their profits and moved on. This was either a brilliant plan by politicians irked by investigative reporting to kill the newspaper industry, their nemesis, or deregulation run amok. Wild speculation, leveraged buyouts and borrowing and bundling put to death many industries, but if big government had been there to stop this from happening to newspaper companies, the newspaper would still be thriving today as a viable source of news.


“It’s all blogsphere and cable news” out there, the President complained, and is reportedly working on a plan to bail out newspapers. It’s a great idea, and not just because it could fill a couple of parking lots back up. We all depend on full-sized journalism departments in every city to inform our democracy. Let’s put newspaper people back in charge of newspapers so the newspaper can once again be worth picking up and reading.

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