Newpapers in Trouble


David Brauer over at 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 and, 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 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.


I haven't subscribed to a newspaper in years, save a six-week Sunday only subscription right when I got married. My wife still likes to buy the Sunday paper. So, I do buy that, but I never actually read it.

I will subscribe to the Strib as long as there is one, primarily because I can't take a computer on a bathroom break. Or at least it would be pretty gross if I did.

Plus, it's not as much fun to get my daily comics fix online.

Snyder you're right comics are hard to find on-line. That's another reason why we'll keep the newspaper around.

Another thing that a news paper does right is that you can come across stories that you weren't looking for. In yesterday's Strib there was a small article about the Deputy Executive Director leaving MPHA. As a former MPHA employee that was of interest to me. It's not a big enough story to come up as headline on and I would never think to search for it but I was able to stumble across the story because the headline caught my eye on the paper. On-line news sites still aren't able to provide that scanability. You have to know what stories you are looking for or be held hostage to the headline links.

That's a good point.

I generally find stories like that a couple times a month in the Business section that I end up sharing with colleagues at work, like the feature on Ecolab's new dishwashing system for restaurants that helps them conserve water.

I think they should make Sid move his office to St. Paul. That would be great.


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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on January 24, 2008 9:13 AM.

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