Gannett: A newspaper recovery is nowhere in sight

The troubles of the newspaper industry are well-chronicled. Many chains are bankrupt or close to it. Some city papers have closed completely.

Newspaper publishers hope that as the economy recovers, so will their advertising, which has been falling at a rate of 20 percent or more year-over-year. Many experts believe that there will be no recovery. Too many print marketing dollars have moved to the internet and won't be back.

Gannett (GCI), the largest chain in the country, signaled that the industry is nowhere near a recovery, whether or not one will come eventually. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company will lay off over 1,000 people. Early yesterday, the rumors of the number of staff that would be fired were much higher. The ax will fall at the firm's community newspapers and not USA Today, which is strange because the national daily has been doing poorly. Gannett fired over 4,000 people late last year.

Why more layoffs now? Obviously print ad revenue is off, but the potential salvation for the industry, which is dollars coming from marketing budgets to newspaper websites, is dropping this year as well. The internet editions of papers are not increasing online revenue to even partially offset the attrition of their traditional business. The layoffs are not over at Gannett.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.


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