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Thursday, February 5, 2009

All Print News Taking Hits, Liberal NYT Plummeting

New York Times (NYT) 5-year Stock Digression:

Year's Earnings: +0.46
Source: Market Watch - NYT

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWS) 5-year Stock Digression:

Year's Earnings: +1.24
Source: Market Watch - NWS

Everyone knows print media is suffering right now because of new media, but let there be no confusion, NYT's dramatic swing to the left during this election cycle has crushed it. The Times used to be twice as profitable as Murdoch's News Corp., now it's less profitable.

Yet, as news media, they're facing the same external challenges, they're both taking hits, but the right-of-center powerhouse is doing better.

Notice Murdoch's news stock has only dropped from ~20 to ~7, where as NYT has dropped from about ~47 to ~5. It's also important to note that the WSJ and FOX News are still turning a profit - just not as big of a profit as they would like. The NYT, Washington Post, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and LA Times are all losing money hand over fist and have either filed for bankruptcy, or are selling their other interests to stay afloat. The NYT is looking to sell its 17% ownership of the Red Sox just to keep its lights on. The AP, since making it's decision to gravitate to more liberally opinionated color commentary, has been in a tight spot as well. They're so hard-up for cash, they're suing the guy who came up with the Obama iconography poster for copyright infringement. Apparently, the AP was willing to hold Obama's hand into the White House, but only insofar as as it profits from his success.

The NYT (and many other once reputable news sources like it) has been dramatically sinking since it decided to throw all sense of objective journalism out the window in a feeble attempt to compete with new media news alternatives. Their logic being, overt appeal to the sensibilities of their typical reader demographics would equal stable sales, which would in turn equal stable advertising revenue. Turns out, practically every news source that followed this model and shot far left is now either bankrupt or on the verge of bankruptcy - they managed to get their man elected, but in so doing only exponentially accelerated the decline of their perceived value in the news media marketplace.

The truly sad thing is that a lot of people really use to rely on news sources like The Times for their information. News sources are meant to report what happened, and that's it. No opinion, no commentary. Just dates, locations, numbers and names. That's what a news "medium" is supposed to be: a medium through which news travels, NOT a medium through which news is interpreted. The New York Times is no longer a news source. It's a liberal ego-petting rag.

News sources have always had their editorialized sections, but as soon as organizations like The Times started adding color commentary to every single story they ran, they ruined what shred of credibility they had left. Instead of keeping people loyal to the integrity of print media, The Times practically shoved them towards The Huffington Post and the Daily Kos. If people are going to get steaming piles of opinion cow dung with their news, they might as well do it for free.

All print news media are taking a hit right now, not just because they're being replaced by free internet alternatives, but because the first thing most organizations cut during a recession is their advertising budget. News media make 75%-80% of their profits from advertising. So, the general drop in news stocks (shown above) accounts for the effect of new media and the recession, but the exceedingly dramatic fall from grace of the NYT accentuates that its problems are not limited to the poor economy or the changing market.

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