Off Topic: Trouble Rocks Major Newspapers

Updated: These are dark days for the media business, with many traditional media owners caught in the intergalactic shift to online from off. This is going to kill a lot of newspapers. Among the latest developments, Tribune Co. (s trib), parent company of the Chicago Tribune, LA Times and others (and owner of the Chicago Cubs), has filed for bankruptcy, while The McClatchy Co. (s mni) is rumored to have put The Miami Herald up for sale. So is Rocky Mountain News.

Even before that, the Chicago-based credit ratings firm Fitch, which rates the debt of both companies as junk, said it “believes more newspapers and newspaper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010.” They are worried that newspapers would are facing declines in all four revenue streams: circulation and local, classified and national ads. In other words, we can expect even more bad news from this sector.

Recommended Reading: Mitch Joel tears apart the current media plans to go smaller to survive.

The other side is to embrace the digital world. It’s hard to fault some of the publishing and music companies here. The problem is, we’re probably kidding ourselves if we think that by embracing Twitter, Blogs and MySpace, that these two industries are going to be able to change much or find the record profits they were realizing in the days before the Internet changed everything we know about the news, journalism and how information spreads.

In related development, today The Pulitzer Prizes said that they will now recognize and give awards to online publications for their journalistic efforts. And at the same time, Sig Gissler, administrator of the Prizes said that “The Board will continue to monitor the impact of the Internet.” That sentiment pretty much sums up what Joel is shouting out loud. Hat Tip, PaidContent.