Dividends and Merchants of Truth

The newspaper is something that used to be delivered to every home and had many uses. If you had a wood burning stove the newspaper help with the fire; if you had an outhouse the paper had uses othet than reading. People looked forward to their paper and to read the news, business, sports and if they knew anyone in the paper. The other side of the newspaper was the business side. Media was very profitable because of its reach advertising went to the papers You may remember looking through the classifieds, often that was 40% of the business. The internet arrives and websites are made to classifieds, what happens to the newspaper? Jill Abramson had written a good book called Merchamts of Truth published by Simon & Schuster, NY, 2019 in which she examines the changes in the newspaper business. Those of us that read a paper are a diminishing breed for everything is on line. If you are an advertiser do you still use the newspaper for the majority of your ad dollars, I would hope the answer is no

In the book, Ms. Abramson reviews buzzfeed, VIce, the New York Times, and The Washington Post and the connection into Facebook to gain more readers. With social media, they analyze everything – how long did you spend on an article? Did you like it? Did you share it? And the list goes on. If you analyze it, then newspaper writing changes to meet the analytics.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, the newspaper industry is a textbook case of having profitable business for years with a good dividend and then it changed forever. If you sold newspaper stocks and bought Facebook and Google you would still be in the same position, but did many people do that till later? We often think the industry can change and all will be good,  but reality is change to what? What are the alternatives, do we pay attention to them?

There are more questions than answers, till the next time- to raising questions.








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