Many newspapers around the world have faced difficulties in the Internet era, but none have fallen so far so fast as America’s marquee monodailies. From The Washington Post:
Red Sox owner John Henry enters into $70M agreement to buy The Boston Globe, once worth $1.1B
The geniuses at the Post can’t even get the headline right. The Globe was never worth $1.1 billion, and the fact that The New York Times was willing to pay that in 1993 testifies to the parochial complacency of an industry that assumed “New England’s paper of record” was forever. The Times has sold the Globe for less than 7 per cent of what they paid for it – and, given that as part of the deal they apparently remain on the hook for $100 million in pension liabilities, they in effect gave it away.
The problem here isn’t the technology – the transition to the Internet. It’s that by comparison with almost any other major English-speaking market around the world the product is a uniquely American J-school blend of pompous, boring and fatally incurious. It’s not the “delivery system”.
PS Two years ago they could have sold it to my friends at Freedom Communications (publishers of The Orange County Register) for 300 grand (and unloaded the pensions), but they would have been ideologically uncongenial to the Times. So the Gray Lady bravely took a quarter-billion hit in the cause of liberal torpor.
Newsweek’s New Owners Say They Bought “A Lot Of Cachet”
Not as much as they think.