By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Explaining the Journal Register’s fall

Media Nation reader MTS passes along this interesting Newsosaur analysis of what went wrong at the Journal Register Co., the bottom-feeding newspaper company now drowning in a sea of debt. (JRC’s best-known property at the moment is probably the New Haven Register.)

What’s fascinating about this is the gulf that separates Newsosaur’s Alan Mutter from his commenters. Mutter praises JRC’s 19.3 percent profit margin, and concludes that the company came to woe not because of the way it has run its newspapers but because of foolish investments.

Many of the commenters, though, say those profit margins were the result of such drastic cutbacks in newsroom budgets that the papers were decimated, leading to their “loosing circulation in heaps” (I hope that wasn’t written by a copy editor).

Of course, everyone is losing circulation in heaps these days. It would be telling to see how JRC’s numbers stack up with those of the industry as a whole.

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  1. Steve

    Loosing circulation in heaps? Wasn’t that the subject of your recent “Forgotten but not gone” post?

  2. MeTheSheeple

    Now that JRC’s delisted, it’s tough to find a chart of the stock price. If you look, though, the price had been semi-stable through mid-2005, about the time I left. (Coincidence? Hrm.) Then it spirals into the ground, looking, to my eye, exactly like a plane in a World War II movie — maybe the Battle of Britain, with the Messerschmidt plowing into the British countryside. It’s uncanny.Chart hereI don’t know about decision-making at the corporate level, but at the newspaper level, people who should’ve been fired for incompetence, dishonesty or liability reasons kept hanging on. It was amazing.

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