Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some optimism for 2009

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 1/06/2009
The new year is here and John Morton provided a new way of looking at the newspaper industry now that 2008 is behind us: "It Could Be Worse."

That was the name of his article in the Dec. 2008/Jan. 2009 American Journalism Review, fresh off the press and in my mailbox when I got back to Chicago just a few hours ago.

Morton writes that the print industry's numbers for 2008 "sparkle compared with the staggering losses reported by, say, the domestic automobile companies and the airline industry."

He adds that, "the newspaper industry as a whole remains profitable" and that the average operating profit margin "is still above what is typical for most non-media businesses."

Morton concludes, "the beleaguered newspaper industry's financial health has been weakened but remains healthy by most measures. In this environment, that is an achievement."

Perhaps it's not something to celebrate, but it's a much more optimistic way of looking at the media's recent woes, headlined by the fall 2008 wave of newspaper layoffs. What better way to start 2009 than with hope that this could be the year things will turn around?

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