Dorian Hargrove 3:30 p.m., April 24
Newspapers Suffer Worst Quarter in Modern History
Last Thursday, the Newspaper Association of America quietly posted almost unbelievably grim news on its website. Advertising sales plunged by 28.3% in the first quarter of 2009. Print ads were down 29.7%. Classified ads, the big money makers in the past, plummeted 42.3%, with employment classified ads down 67.4% and automotive classified 43.4%. The word didn't reach Wall Street until yesterday (June 2) and most newspaper stocks got belted -- generally, from 3 to 10%. Stocks of most newspaper chains were already down 90% or more over the last 52 weeks. Analyst Edward Atorino noted "an accelerated rate of decline across all advertising categories....This is really horrible."