June 16, 2008

McClatchy's Dying: Who's Got the Will?

You could have seen this coming a mile away:

McClatchy Co., which owns The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, said Monday it will cut 10 percent of its work force in a move to save $70 million a year as the publisher continues to struggle to attract advertising dollars.

McClatchy, which also owns The Charlotte Observer, the Kansas City Star and Miami Herald, will trim about 1,400 employees. The staff reductions are part of a plan to reduce overall expenses by $95 million to $100 million over the next four quarters.

That is hardly surprising, considering we're in an environment where many print-based news outlets are fading, but perhaps McClatchy in particular wouldn't be fading as fast if they would try to address at least two points.

  1. Make an attempt to remove obvious and pervasive left-leaning political biases in reporting;
  2. find a less obnoxious and politically-charged slogan that the nutroots favorite, "Truth to Power."

The powers that be are not amused with the company's business sense, and many readers are immediately turned of by McClatchy's editorial stance. A flailing company should try to shore up a reader base, not alienate potential readers and advertisers, who will simply find a less-obviously biased competitor.

Enjoy "speaking truth to power" McClatchy, all the way to bankruptcy.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 16, 2008 09:22 AM

McClatchy has been the worst in terms of anti-American, anti-military, anti-Iraq-liberation, anti-Afghanistan-liberation and anti-counterterrorism bias (and thats saying a lot given that the competition is the AP, reuters, al-Jazeera, the BBC, ABC, NBC MSNBC et al). So long liars, most will not be sad to see you wither and die.

Posted by: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at June 16, 2008 10:49 AM

A very good analysis. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: locomotivebreath1901 at June 16, 2008 01:12 PM

McClatchey and New York Times have been absolute dogs over the last two years or so. In fact, if you had bought 100 shares each in McClatchy (MNI) and New York Times (NYT) a year ago, your $5,500.00 would be worth about $2,400.00 today, and it would qualify as a Motley Fool's "My Dumbest Move."

Posted by: Dave at June 16, 2008 02:42 PM

It's fine fun to laugh at the liberal papers as they lose money and shed staff, but they are not losing money because they are anti-conservative, and any shift would likely cause them to lose liberal readers more than they would gain conservatives.

They're losing money because they no longer get the advertising dollars (and, to a lesser degree, the circulation revenues) needed to support their (bloated) cost structure. And the reason for this lies not with advertisers punishing them for their liberal positions but rather because ad agencies would rather spend their ad dollars on this newfangled thing called the internet than on print products.

Posted by: stevesturm at June 16, 2008 06:45 PM

Sturm, the NYT made a huge effort to boost its internet buisness but no ones reading that either.

Posted by: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr at June 16, 2008 08:38 PM

Fascinating, Steve.

Please tell me, how do you explain the New York Post being able to increase its circulation?

One of the few large papers to substantially increase its circulation in the latest report was The New York Post, which managed to squeak past its rival, The Daily News, by about 10,000 copies, and trumpeted the news today on a giant billboard in Times Square.

By the way, in case you weren't aware, the Post is owned by News Corporation, the same people that own the Fox News channel.

Maybe conservatism really does sell, hmmm?

Posted by: C-C-G at June 16, 2008 11:14 PM

When my local paper, The Sun Herald was purchased by McClatchy from Knight-Ridder the change was dramatic. It was like playing the "how long till game" in the comments sections at Huffpo. Opinions are inserted through out the articles. Facts were fuzzy at best. And any thing Military was so biased or just plain wrong I somtimes would go days and never even open the damn thing up. I cancelled last week and yesterday recieved my refund, Ironic aint it?

Posted by: D-lo at June 17, 2008 11:09 AM