Troubles at NYT, CBS

Just to keep you in the loop on troubles in my biz, check this piece in the WashPost about the NYT:

How Low Will Newspapers' Ad Revenues Go?
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 19, 2009; Page C01

When Arthur Sulzberger Jr. refused to talk to his own reporter about the financial condition of the New York Times Co., it was the latest sign of an industry in deep trouble….

And mind you, the NYT's one of the healthier papers. As Kurtz notes, it "has barely cut its 1,300-person newsroom, the largest in the business."

And to remind you that it's not just newspapers, but anybody who depends on advertising, check this from Advertising Age about CBS:

CBS Income Off by 52% Due to Weak Ad Market
Auto, Financial, Retail Down; Pharma, Telecoms Up

by Brian Steinberg

Published: February 18, 2009

NEW YORK ( — CBS Corp. said the roiling economy sparked a downturn in advertising that prompted a 52% decline in fourth quarter net income and said the broadcasting and publishing company would slash its dividend while the economy remained in turmoil.

"We are operating in a very difficult environment; some say the worst since the 1930s. Clearly, the market has been sharply affected by the recession, particularly in the last quarter of the year," said CBS CEO Leslie Moonves on a conference call with investors. "Our advertising business, obviously, has been caught in this downturn, especially our local business is having a significant impact on our TV and radio stations, as well as outdoor."…

32 thoughts on “Troubles at NYT, CBS

  1. David

    CBS, NYT and a great majority of other news organizations are on life support not primarily because of the economy downturn, but because they are absolutely and completely biased and in the tank for liberalism. The people of this country are sick of it, and have ceased consuming the liberal b*llsh*t these “news” organizations attempt to sel todayl. There is nothing mysterious about this: The msm no longer have a monopoly on the news. Journalism is going the way of every other business that there has been wherein the people who run it have the idea that the customer is stupid and wrong. This is a business model destined for failure.
    If CBS and the NYT folded tomorrow, this country would be well served.

  2. Lee Muller

    As a consultant who has been involved in turning businesses around, reshaping and redirecting businesses and product lines, I think the news business has one of the easiest businesses to fix. What is missing in management that is interested in serving the customer.
    Publishers and editors have had such near monopolies for so long that they think the customer must just get used to buying whatever is offered. The elitist attitudes of a clique of Ivy League Baby Boomers who are mostly socialistic liberals, has filtered out of New York, Boston, Washington and San Franscisco into the medium and small town markets.
    Local editors know the ladder to success in their conglomerates is to imitate the tone at the big city press. In the process, they alienate themselves further from the very educated, more conservative, more religious, entrepreneurs, business managers, and free market employees who create all the wealth in this country.
    Pandering to the policitians, bureaucrats, welfare cheats and illegal immigrants is not a good business model.

  3. David

    And honesty with oneself is absolutely crucial if recovery and improvement are to be achieved.
    By all accounts Les Moonves is a bright guy, but if he thinks the problems at CBS are due to the economic downturn, he’s lying to himself. Problem definition is the first step towards problem solution. The economy ain’t CBS’s problem.

  4. martin

    The most important thing about NYT is not it’s editorial content, but the incredible numbers of people all over the world who are telling us what is happening.
    I grew up in an era when the network news did that. They have been really cutting back on international coverage over the last 20 years or so. We no longer know what is leading up to something until it happens. The networks have become more and more tabloid to try to keep up with the hysteria going on at the cable news channels.
    We are having serious problems and a variety of responsible sources of information are who we need to rely on, not the blogs. The Fourth Estate is vital to our democracy and if it goes, the politicians will steal our country for good.

  5. Charlie

    I have to disagree with the liberal bias explanations. NASCAR has experienced a downturn in sponsorship because companies are trimming the fat. As a lifetime fan of stock car racing, I can assure you that no liberal bias exists in that sport.

  6. David

    So what is it Charlie? Sunspots?
    CBS may be “trimming the fat” as you say, but I strongly suspect they’re doing it because what they produce no longer sells rather than trimming due to economic retrenchment.
    CBS has been in trouble since long before the economy hit the skids. Dan Rather and Perky Katie Couric have seen to that.
    I still say that the dinosaur media have imploded because of their arrogant disrespect for their customers.

  7. Dave

    And it isn’t just CBS and the NYT that are failing.
    It’s NBC. ABC. The LA Times, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Detroit Free Press, Atlanta Urinal and Constipation, WaPo and a host of other ultra-liberal, Democrat Party mouth pieces that are in the crapper.
    And frankly, to be nice Charlie I sort of agreed with you that they were “trimming the fat.” But in all honesty that is NOT what these “news” organizations are doing. In point of fact the NYT has been cannabilizing itself to stay afloat by firing work force and auctioning off core assets like buildings, plant and equipment. And stopping dividends paid to the last three investors in the NYT who haven’t yet run for their lives. That’s not trimming, that’s unchecked arterial bleeding…and it is generally acknowledged to be fatal.
    And it isn’t just the NYT. It’s all of them. Just this week Brad Warthen has lamented that he has one half the staff that he began with at The State.
    Now, admittedly, some of the collapse has been due to the onset of new media online. But generally, these dinosaurs are dying because they deserve to. NO one wants what they sell any more.

  8. Mab

    What? Y’all don’t have a Mason Jar Museum?
    It’s like a job jar, where little slips of paper are placed, hoping to be retrieved.
    In this case, it is where great unsolicited free advice…crime tips…corruption insider details…other juicy stuff is planted, collecting dust and other planetary matter on a shelf in a Mason jar.
    Lee Muller’s is probably way full. Mine awaits results of a competency hearing…

  9. David

    I’m not giving advice Mab. My Mason is probably full of sumthin else.
    The things that are wrong with mainstream journalism as it has currently configured itself in the US however, are really pretty obvious. Aren’t they? They are to me. I don’t profess to be the smartest guy in the room, but I think I can recognize liberal arrogance in these newspapers when I see it. And it is pervasive. And it really doesn’t sell anymore.

  10. KP

    You know, I keep wondering how it is that Lee Muller came to be an expert at JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. Business restructing. Automobile manufacturing. Taxes. I can’t even remember what-all.
    Either he’s really old, or a really quick study.

  11. Mab

    I envision Lee as Father Time (R) who has learned the liberal falsehoods the hard way, and only wishes to enlighten other libs still being deceived — believing in ideologies that can never work, in THIS hemisphere.
    Or, he could just be VERY opinionated. Not unlike the rest of us, no? Yes?

  12. Lee Muller

    KP, if you would engage in an adult discussion of any single item which is a new fact or concept to you, you might broaden your perspective beyond what you memorized at the state brain laundries.
    Seriously – discuss something besides how you don’t like this poster or that poster. No one cares about your personal likes and dislikes.

  13. KP

    But Lee, adult discussion is mostly not what happens on this blog. There’s a lot of shouting back and forth, from ideologically entrenched positions, to the point that you can read the first sentence of any post and pretty accurately guess whose name will follow (100 percent of the time, with yours) — but not so much adult discussion.
    I think you’re a smart man, but I also don’t think you’re Superman. The difference between you and me is that when I’m asked to think about “a new fact or concept,” I don’t automatically assume I’m the world’s foremost expert on the topic, as you seem to believe you are. I want to hear more. You think that makes me a lightweight; I think it makes me realistic, and you dogmatic.
    As for my attempts to personalize postings on this blog — again, no apology. I know you like it as it has been, with all the shouting and dive-bombing and anger. I think it would serve us all more effectively if we were able to talk more civilly and listen with less rancor.

  14. Lee Muller

    I don’t claim to be the “foremost expert” on any subject, but you failed to name any of them.
    I do know a hell of a lot more about the economy and automobile manufacturing than Barack Obama or anyone I see advising him. And I am a less ideological than Obama, because ideology is all Obama has. He has no real world work experience.
    How civil should be be towards Obama, an openly avowed socialist who says he “will not be constrained by the Constitution”. He is a racist, and he mode of operation is to divide people by inciting class and race hatred.

  15. David

    See? He’s Superman I tell you!
    (Actually, Lee says the things I’d say if I had a better command of the facts)
    I actually DO agree with KP that most of what happens on this blog primarily involves people shouting at each other from hardened ideological positions and generally closed minds.

  16. Lee Muller

    So far, KP, all your posts are personal, about yourself or some other poster. No wonder you aren’t having a fact-based conversation about the issues.

  17. blue bunny

    i’d like it if just once this blog could stay on topic. LOL :-)
    NYT & CBS’s problem: good old market based competition. There are too many news sources available today and they are stuck in 1970’s.

  18. Lee Muller

    The problem with all of big media companies is that they are not run as businesses, but as a branch of government. The people can’t trust them anymore. They see editors and talking heads as constantly trying to sell government programs, high taxes and loss of freedom to the great unwashed out here in “fly-over country”.

  19. faust

    Yep. Either they sell it (liberalism) on the national level or advocate and agitate for it unceasingly on the local level.
    Anyone remember the last time The State came out clearly and emphatically against a tax? Or for a personal property right against some bogus state interest?
    I don’t.
    And I don’t buy The State either.

  20. Lee Muller

    The New York Times Throws a Hip Inauguration Party for Obama
    By Clay Waters
    January 22, 2009 – 17:03 ET
    The New York Times celebrated Obama’s presidency Inauguration Night at a hip location in the already painfully hip Lower East Side of Manhattan. Reid Pillifant, blogging for the New York Observer, filed the day after Tuesday night’s NYT party at the New Museum on the Bowery, a Twitter-ific shindig co-sponsored by Facebook:
    “Last night at the New Museum on the Bowery, a crowd of left-behind New Yorkers gathered to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama. The party, sponsored by The New York Times, attracted not the hoped-for celebrities (it was rumored that Moby, Dave Matthews, and Isaac Mizrahi would be attending), but rather the crowd of young Internet scenesters who seem to show up, like moths to a flame, at every media open bar party in town (who knows how long that gravy train will last?)”
    Pillifant noticed the Times had its own take on Obama’s famous “O” emblem:
    “At the party, Ms. Gentry and Mr. Sender’s iconic “O” was overshadowed by the Times’s own specially designed Obama emblem. It was already ubiquitous for anyone who logged onto Facebook yesterday, (members could “give” it to each other), and last night, each party-goer received a logo lapel pin on the way in, and a small poster on the way out.”
    But Times metro reporter/byline beast Sewell Chan, who as of this afternoon had 2,383 Facebook friends, assured the Daily Transom that, specially-designed logos not withstanding, the paper maintained its objectivity throughout the day,…
    maintained its objectivity??????

  21. Greg Flowers

    I know a hell of a lot more about the economy . . . than Barrack Obama or anyone I see advising him.
    Given names like Geithner and Volcker and informal advisers like Buffet and Bob Rubin I must say that you claim sounds a bit hubristic. I don’t agree with them on many things but they are certainly knowledgeable people.

  22. Greg Flowers

    I know a hell of a lot more about the economy . . . than Barrack Obama or anyone I see advising him.
    Given names like Geithner and Volcker and informal advisers like Buffet and Bob Rubin I must say that you claim sounds a bit hubristic. I don’t agree with them on many things but they are certainly knowledgeable people.

  23. Lee Muller

    Volker advised Jimmy Carter when they had 21% inflation.
    Geithner was one of the top regulators for New York State who somehow failed to detect any of the problems with the New York banks like Lehman Brothers. He was one on those who said to let Lehman fail. It did, and brought down the rest of the banks.
    Buffet does not invest based on the economy. He is a value investor. He also pays hardly any income taxes, because he lives frugaly, extracting very little income from his tax-free holding company.
    Robert Rubin collected a bonus of $300,000,000 after quitting as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, where he refinanced most of the national debt, through his firm, Goldman-Sachs, and Solomon. Oh, he also helped Clinton run deficits every year and add $1.3 trillion in new debt.
    Today, Goldman is in deep trouble, too. Real genius, that Rubin.


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