So it looks like the yokels at Moody's, who pretty much got nothing right about anyone in this recession, are now rating the U.S. newspaper industry as "negative."
Meanwhile, companies like Gannett, who butchered their workforce in this recession to keep profits up, are switching full steam out of the newspaper industry.
All this reminds me of a story a professor and mentor of mine told me at UT in 2001.
He said, "Stan, in the early 1900s, this new thing was invented called the radio. It was timely. It was engaging. It was new. Everyone predicted newspapers were dead.
"Then once radio caught full steam with fireside chats, breaking news and great music, out comes a thing call TV. Everyone predicted radio would die.
"Then the same thing happened to the main broadcast channels when cable channels came out. And then satellite radio came out with no commercials.
"And then the Internet. And then satellite TV. And on and on." (Add mobile devices, if you want.)
My professor, with the wily smile that only he could pull off, then asked me what each of the these things had in common.
I had no idea. Change is constant, maybe?
"Nope," he said. "None of these things killed any of the things they were supposed to kill. Newspapers are still making profits. Even ole-fashioned radio, buoyed by talk news, makes money. They all do. All that's happened is that everyone's slice of the pie got smaller. That's all."
And thus endeth the sermon. But meanwhile, the yokels at the ratings company, the know-it-alls in the coffee shops and the heads of newspaper companies, who couldn't lead a first-grade class to lunch, are running around in a panic worrying newspapers are dead. But just not yet.
In other news, a source deep in the upper tiers of management at The Oak Ridge Observer said that profits are higher than ever.
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Stan Mitchell is the founder and owner of The Oak Ridge Observer. He started the paper in 2004 with a $20,000 loan and writes generally on his blog about business practices, politics and local matters.