Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gray Lady puts a delicate spin on financial woes

The New York Times is not shy about airing its money woes. Like a determined matriarch with a meager purse, the Gray Lady has gone public with its debts.

Despite cost-cutting, the newspaper must borrow $225 million against its own headquarters building to stay solvent. Its stock has dropped 58 percent this year, and the company has been given a "below investment grade" credit rating by Standard & Poor's. Come next spring, the newspaper will owe some $400 million to assorted creditors.

The Times has become the news.

The startling idea that the 157-year-old publication was possibly broke created much media hubbub. The Times - which owns 18 other papers - became a potent symbol of troubled print journalism along with the Tribune Corp., which declared bankruptcy on Monday. The papers were "toast," said Fortune magazine; the Times is "broke," according to the Drudge Report.

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