Monday, December 8, 2008

News industry needs a bailout?

Some wonder whether the news media could use a federal buyout, just like Wall Street and auto manufacturers.

The Tribune Company, which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Sun in Baltimore and 10 other papers, plus 23 TV stations, filed for bankruptcy Monday, owing $13 billion to international creditors.

"Factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm - a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy coupled with a credit crisis," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Samuel Zell.

That perfect storm is raining on everybody.

The New York Times Co. also announced Monday it would borrow $225 million against its Manhattan headquarters building to stay afloat. E.W. Scripps Co. put the Rocky Mountain News up for sale Sunday; the McClatchy Co. did the same with the Miami Herald. NBC is laying off 500 employees, Viacom 850.

The current total number of layoffs in American newspapers alone has topped 15,000 this year, according to Paper Cuts, an online site that tracks the bad news.

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