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Quick Hits: All The Bad News That's Fit To Print

By

Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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The Gray Lady is looking a little peaked.

The New York Times Company (NYT) reported second-quarter earnings of $21.1 million, down 82% from the same period last year. Declining ad sales are proving disastrous for newspapers: The Times reported an 11% drop in sales, and last week Gannett (GCI) said that losses in ad revenue were to blame for its dwindling profits (down 36%).

Even May's job cuts and last year's price increases weren't enough to compensate. And cover prices will soon be raised yet again: Starting August 18, the Times will set you back $1.50.

Still, the price hike may not be enough. A newspaper industry analyst told The Age that "any improvement at all this year" seems unlikely. He explained that the Times' loss is "about in line with what other companies are reporting."

If things go on like this, what will become of all the news that's fit to print? The Times, like many other print publications, has tried to make its online edition more accessible in an attempt to snare advertisers unwilling to invest in the print publication.

But the online newspaper, like online dating, is a poor substitute for the real thing. And New Yorkers aren't likely to give up their morning Times just because it costs an extra quarter - they certainly haven't eschewed their $5 morning coffees from Starbucks (SBUX), despite reports of the company's troubles. (In fact, none of the more than 150 stores in Manhattan are listed among the 600 that will close.)

Yes, New Yorkers need their daily fix of caffeine and cosmopolitan, liberally-slanted news coverage.

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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