David Brauer over at Minnpost.com has an interesting article about the latest grim news over at the StarTribune. According to a leaked memo, the Strib is still hemorrhaging money ($75M), even with its recent staff cuts and reorganization.
It seems that the biggest culprit is the collapse of classified ad revenue. It’s dropped by nearly 50 percent and is below levels from eight years ago. While these trends are industry wide, apparently they are a little more stark at the Strib. The newspaper business seems to be on a death watch. Will we even have morning papers in 5 or 10 years.
I’m not really surprised by this situation. Over the last six months I’ve sold some concert tickets and tried to sell my sister-in-laws car. I didn’t even consider newspaper classifieds. Craigslist, E-Bay, Carsoup, and other web based sites are what I considered. Same goes when I’m looking to buy stuff. I never check the classified. Doesn’t even cross my mind.
We subscribe to the Strib but it’s somewhat out of habit. I get most of my news from the web and I religiously check a number of sites, some of which are newspaper sites. Also with up-and-coming news sites like Minnpost.com and dailymole.com, I’m getting a lot more local news from the web. My wife is pretty much a techno-phobe so I don’t see us anytime soon dropping our subscription. Plus I’ve never been satisfied doing the soduko and crossword puzzle on-line.
So if newpapers went away, I would still get my news. Who knows, maybe I could even teach my wife to go online too! It would be the end of an era but we’ve survived other ends of the era too like the death of picture magazines such as Life and Look and the death of sheet music.
What about you, do you still subscribe to a newspaper?
Brian Lambert over at MSPMag.com has another take on the issues facing the Strib in light of the memo. Very interesting. His take: Look for the St. Paul and Strib to merge into one paper.