The headline reads: “Gannett 4Q print revenue declines but digital subscriptions spike.”
The story from USA Today says, “The company posted a net loss of $14.2 million in the fourth quarter, due largely to restructuring, asset impairment charges and other costs of $56.3 million. A year earlier, the company’s net loss was $13.6 million. Analysts polled by S&P Global had predicted a profit of $61 million.
“Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totaled $111 million for the period, down 16.4 percent.”
In short, newspapers like our own Commercial Appeal are headed in the toilet.
And they are surprised?
Their answer: “Gannett is confident that ‘thoughtful’ investments in journalism and marketing solutions will enable the company to remain a trusted source of news and information and deliver shareholder value, Gannett CEO and President Robert J. Dickey said Wednesday during a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results.”
What are “thoughtful” investments? Can he really believe that in the age of fake news, USA Today and its spawn are trusted sources of news and information? What planet does he inhabit, because most of us here no longer have a scintilla of confidence in anything they spew.
So what else are they doing?
Going after the elusive digital subscriber.
And, cutting back in the print area.
“Print revenue declines, an industry-wide challenge, continued to leave a mark on Gannett, which took several steps recently to reduce expenses, including an early-retirement offer for long-time employees and layoffs.
“Dickey said Gannett would continue ‘our focus on efficiency’ in 2019, including “the restructuring of some newsrooms into a more holistically managed state coverage and additional printing and distribution efforts.”
That means more layoffs are coming at the CA.
By the time they get through being pruned, they might as well buy a PODS, park it somewhere and use it as their office.
None of this had to happen. If editors and newspaper owners decided to cover events fairly and not shape every tidbit into a social justice/progressive lecture, people might not be so turned off of them.
But who wants to combat a newspaper that every day announces how racist we are and how conservatives and Trump supporters are evil? If we want that, we’ll turn on the network news.