Reports of Tribune Co. entering into Chapter 11 and The New York Times being forced to mortgage its new headquarters, overshadow the fact that most newspapers are still making money. Santa Cruz Sentinel Editor Don Miller writes in his column:
- …[T]he untold story about newspaper companies is that most continue to be profitable — although today they’re not making enough money to satisfy lenders and investors. According to industry analyst John Morton, revenues at publicly traded newspaper companies for the first nine months of 2008 are down nearly 11 percent and operating profits are down nearly 40 percent. Overall operating profits for these companies are slightly above 11 percent — about half of what they were at the industry’s peak, reports Morton.
Nevertheless, many businesses — hello, automakers! — would crawl over broken glass for such a margin. Profitable businesses are nothing to sneeze at in the current economic climate. This would suggest the industry, although financially weakened, indeed does have a future, even as it adapts to changes in how readers and advertisers read and use their products.