Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Newspaper fire sales

Extra! Extra! Wanna buy a paper for nuttin?
Now that the Boston Globe and Washington Post have sold for bargain basement prices, is the New York Times far behind?

Or, is The (Bend) Bulletin up for grabs at a rock-bottom rate?

Grim days for the newspaper world.

The New York Times bought the Boston Globe 20 years ago for $1.1 billion. The NYT, apparently, was thrilled to get rid of the Globe for $70 million. Can't say that the Times' owners are financial wizards. More like fools.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, sold for a comparatively robust $250 million to Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos. Twenty years ago, though, the WaPo was worth about a billion or more.

At least the buyer of the Globe, who also happens to own the Boston Red Sox, will likely keep things as they are since he paid so little for the paper.

The same can't be said for the WaPo.

Legendary WaPo investigative journalist Bob Woodward said, "Every news organization, collectively, is inefficient. Whether he (Bezos) has a plan, I don't know. I expect he will shake things up."

 Uh, yeah.

Amazon is known for operating with as few humans as possible.

Perhaps, Bezos will show Woodward the door. The Watergate journalist is way past his prime.

I would imagine Bezos will try to do to the newspaper business what he did to the retail business.

In essence, he'll get rid of people (in this case, reporters, editors and photographers) and replace them with "content providers" who will likely work as contract employees.

No health insurance. No benefits. No nothing.

Bezos, like many corporate honchos, just wants to expose government corruption and ineptitude, while turning a blind eye to all the ways corporations are destroying this country.

There has long been this myth that the media is some sort of liberal cabal.

The opposite is true. The media is controlled by corporations who only want to maximize their profits.

They do not care at all about serving communities and protecting them from corporate control.

Meanwhile, The Oregonian, Oregon's pre-eminent daily newspaper, is scaling back the number of days it publishes an actual newspaper.  The Bulletin offers a feather-light Monday edition.

Newspapers have only themselves to blame. They resisted change and now must watch how they've been turned into "throwaways."


  1. The digital age has made talk even cheaper. I think those writers that can create original content will still get the premium they deserve and have many ways of distributing it. By the by ... I think radio suffers the same "corporate bland" fate. It is getting much harder for a new artist to get any air time.

  2. Once they killed the Fairness Doctrine, the media, newspapers included became PR shills for the highest bidder.

    When you produce nothing but fluffy bullshit in exchange for advertising dollars, people stop paying attention. The Bulletin filing for BK protection is a prime example of what happens when you don't produce anything of value. RE PR rag gone BK....