OK, one more post about media profits and I will change the subject. When I asked about the breaking point a couple of days ago, maybe this is what I was talking about. Here’s a story from yesterday’s New York Times. This year, the Los Angeles Times won five Pulitzer Prizes, which the editors collected at a ceremony in New York City last month. The newsroom’s reward for all of the hard work? Layoffs. It seems that a cash-flow margin of nearly 26 percent just isn’t good enough for the stockholders. I will repeat that number: 26 percent.
“Thus far this year, the cash-flow margins of Tribune’s publishing division, estimated at 25.9 percent, are below those of the publishing divisions of many of Tribune’s competitors,” writes Jacques Steinberg of the New York Times, “including Gannett (estimated at 32 percent); E. W. Scripps (31.3 percent); Lee (27.4 percent) and Journal Register (27.3 percent), according to figures compiled by Banc of America Securities.”