July 14, 2006

When the Analysts are Right

In January of this year, Merrill Lynch predicted that "newspaper ad revenue growth in 2006 is likely to trail even the paltry estimated 2.4% in 2005." Look out, I said, journalists can expect the "the boardroom hammer will fall once again on the newsroom."

Sadly, the brokerage and I were both right - second-quarter earnings in most news companies (except McClatchy) are dismal and the boardrooms are wielding the ax, with the Chicago Tribune announcing 120 job cuts, including an unknown number in the newsroom.

I tell you this not to gloat but because "we live in a digital age that is fundamentally changing how people get their news and information" - the first sentenced from the Dow Jones memo announcing the company's news reinvention project. (Thanks, Romenesko).

For journalists working in newspaper newsrooms, consider these financial reports as a series of wake-up calls, the quarterly tolling of a bell that tolls for thee, my friends.

The digital newspaper future is already here - and it's not one most journalists would have invented, but if they don't seize control of the change process then someone else, someone from the boardroom, will do it for them.

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Posted by Tim Porter at 08:43 AM | Comments (3)