Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Dark Days for Print Journalism?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dark Days for Print Journalism?

[UPDATED--Tribune Files for Bankruptcy]

Although I'd been hearing rumors to this effect for a while now, the news slipped out today that the Tribune is facing possible bankruptcy. I'm not sure where the flurry of news stories started, but earlier today both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times wrote about the Trib's cash problems. The Tribune itself wrote a story admitting that the company had hired bankruptcy advisors and faced "a Monday deadline on $70 million of unsecured debt." The Journal suggests that bankruptcy filings could come as early as this week, though the speculation I've previously heard is that the debt is likely to be restructured by the Trib's creditors, although restructuring to put debt deadlines off can't go on indefinitely.

All this comes just a month after Henry Blodget explored similar debt problems facing the New York Times, which owes a payment of $400 million in May and had only $46 million on hand in November. Again, short-term issues may have short-term solutions, but the long-term trend is dire. Advertising revenue is down across the board. And none of that even takes into consideration the economic downturn.

So will the future of journalism turn out to be an ad hoc collection of blogs that report on whatever the bloggers feel like? That would be exciting, wouldn't it? Or something.

UPDATE--According to the Trib Website (and I guess they'd know), the Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy. I'm surprised--I really thought they were going to be able to put this off (even if only temporarily). This is more than the newspaper itself, of course, but most of the media giant. Besides the Chicago daily, the Tribune Company owns the L.A. Times, the Baltimore Sun, and various other newspapers; WGN, Los Angeles's KTLA, New York's WPIX, and twenty other TV stations in Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Denver, San Diego, and other markets around the country; and WGN radio and cable TV. The Tribune Company also owns the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, but somehow they've kept those properties out of the bankruptcy filing. They're looking to restructure. Read the official statement.


At 11:27 AM, December 08, 2008, Blogger Stuart Shea said...

More layoffs at the Trib last week and more coming.

At 1:15 PM, December 08, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

Well, it's official. They've filed. Or so sourcess tell the Chicago Tribune. I always love when newspapers report on themselves and quote sources. Sources tell me that Jason is going to go grab some lunch. More as the story develops.

At 1:53 PM, December 08, 2008, Anonymous Doug said...

Thanks, Jason. I've updated the post accordingly. And keep us up to date with that Jason/lunch tip. Solid information is so hard to pin down.

At 4:19 PM, December 08, 2008, Blogger Jason said...

Sources close to Jason reported that he had a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and provolone cheese. Jason could not be reached for comment

At 11:44 PM, December 08, 2008, Blogger Stevie T said...

I'm dying to know who the sources are. And what is Jason's next move? Can I get updates texted to my cellphone?


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