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No News Is Good News: Companies Going Broke

Announcements from major media companies yesterday made it clear that the recession has hit those who report on it. Meanwhile, the Pulitzer Prizes announced plans to accept submissions from web-only news outlets, providing a redundant wake-up call to traditional news companies failing to get by. Here's a roundup of traditional media's most recent struggles:

  • New York Times: Like many Americans, the New York Times Company will borrow against its house to keep the cash flowing. Specifically, the paper of record will take $225 million out against its Manhattan headquarters.

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  • Tribune Co.: The media giant, which owns the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday. Following the filing, the CEO sent employees a memo that said business will carry on as usual. He wrote: "The good news is that we have great brands, and we produce great products every day. It's up to all of us to continue to focus on what it is we do best."
  • NBC: The peacock network has had its head in its feathers apparently, as its chief Jeff Zucker told investors yesterday that a bad Fall performance may result in programming cutbacks. Last week, NBC laid off 500 employees. Zucker said: "We're in an era where if we don't change the models of these local TV stations, we will be newspapers, we will be car companies. I don't want to be a company that files for bankruptcy."
  • While the Tribune Co. seems optimistic about its products, Zucker's comments make it clear that he's happy to be in the TV business rather than newspaper. In a day where everyone seems to have an insatiable craving for information, it's a shame that these media companies cannot quickly adapt, especially since their reporting resources are still valuable in an online world.

    Do you think stalwart media organizations like the New York Times and NBC can find a model that works as technology speeds ahead and a recession hits most businesses, or has their time passed?


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