Newspaper bankruptcies are coming, says Ibbitson

Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson predicts the demise of newspapers in the coming years, in his column “Extra, extra, read all about it – or, sadly, not.”  Ibbitson looks into examples, such as online classifieds, of “the damage the Internet is doing to newspapers.” He points out that circulation is down and while readers may be migrating to online editions in droves, advertisers just aren’t following in large enough numbers.

He says this is hurting mainly metropolitan dailies, while national biggies are faring better. Of the Globe he says:

The problem is not across the board. National papers with well-educated readerships, such as the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, are doing quite well. But metropolitan dailies, especially in the ultra-competitive U.S. market, are suffering.

There have been a rash of cutbacks, layoffs and budget cuts in the U.S. newspaper business in the last few months. The latest is this announcement from the Chicago Tribune, that it will slash about 80 of its 578 newsroom jobs by the end of August and cut the number of pages it publishes by 13  to 14 per cent each week.

Ibbitson concludes that things have got to change:

The old and new technologies will co-exist for a number of years yet. But not forever. And during the transition, some newspapers will report their own demise.