Posted: January 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

From The Atlantic:

“End Times”

” But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if TheNew York Times goes out of business—like, this May?

It’s certainly plausible. Earnings reports released by the New York Times Company in October indicate that drastic measures will have to be taken over the next five months or the paper will default on some $400million in debt. With more than $1billion in debt already on the books, only $46million in cash reserves as of October, and no clear way to tap into the capital markets (the company’s debt was recently reduced to junk status), the paper’s future doesn’t look good.”

Read more …

It seems like this is happening all at once. The book industry may morph into an all-digital format, now the newspapers are having seemingly insuperable financial crises.

Many of them are on the brink of folding. The end of the “Books” sections coming rapid-fire last year were just an inkling of what’s to come. Only a very few papers kept a separate section for books; many dropped it entirely or incorporated it into a general culture section, winnowing reviews down to a bare minimum.

Here in Chicago, the Tribune has adopted what many feel (myself included) is an ugly, irritating new format, supposedly to “save money.”

We cancelled our subscription to the Trib, after roughly 12 years of subscribing. The new  format was so abominable we elected to bail, though our monthly subscription rate was incredibly cheap – having subscribed during a particularly good subscription drive.

A young man from the Trib called, begging us to come back, and my husband minced no words telling him how disappointed we were with the recent drop in quality, as well as the frankly ugly, tabloid-style look of the paper. The young man replied, “We’re going to change it back within a couple of weeks.” He also said subscribers were leaving in droves. It’s been more than a month since he called. Still no change. Hmm. Was he told to lie to former subscribers or was he making it up on the fly, for the commission? With “improvements” like this it’s not exactly going to save too many newspapers.

Pretty soon there’ll be nothing left in print, the way the world is going. Instead of bemoaning that, maybe it’s just time to adjust to the idea. It’s not like we can stand up against the rising tide at this point. It seems that time’s come and gone – a long, long time ago.

If you have a chance, read the full Atlantic article. It’s very enlightening.

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