Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Newspapers’ Bad News Get Less Bad–But Not by Much


Is the newspaper advertising slump about to end? Nope. But it’s continuing to get a little bit less awful.

The New York Times polled some of the remaining analysts covering the industry, as well as people who actually work in it, and concluded that Q3 ad revenue will be down 25 percent, or “possibly a bit less.” Awful by any standard except those of this year: Q1 was down 28.3 percent and Q2 was 29 percent.

Worth noting, but not in a newsworthy way: We’ve been headed in this direction for a while. Publishers, including the New York Times (NYT), Gannett (GCI) and McClatchy (MNI), started making hopeful murmurs–or less hopeless murmurs, really–earlier this summer. But all they’re really saying is that:

  • Things don’t seem to be getting any worse, and
  • It’s nearly impossible for year-over-year comparisons not to improve for the rest of the year since results will be measured against those posted in the fall of 2008, when the economy was in shocked-and-awed mode. Which we knew. But still worth repeating, and something we’ll probably repeat many more times through the rest of this year.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik