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Tough Times At The New York Times

Frank Ahrens

Bad news for the New York Times Co. stock this morning.

Citigroup investment research group has downgraded Times Co. stock from "hold" to "sell." After the report's release this morning, Times Co. stock (NYT) opened down. UPDATE: As of 2:20 p.m., Times Co. stock was down nearly 3 percent on the day.

The Times Co. has been struggling in recent months. The company sold all of its television stations to raise money, one major institutional shareholder is pressuring the company to discontinue its two-class stock system that gives the family owners more voting power than other shareholders and the stock has been in steady descent since the beginning of 2004.

This is how bad things are for the Times Co., if you're a fan of the Times: Citigroup says one of the biggest things going against the Times Co. is the unlikelihood that it will be sold.

What's wrong at the Times Co. is pretty much what's wrong at a number of other papers, even The Washington Post Co., to an extent: Shrinking circulation and ad revenue. In a companion report also released this morning, Citigroup said U.S. newspapers should continue to expect profits to slide for the next five years until online advertising at newspaper Web sites--which is growing, but still relatively small--can take up the slack.

In Internet time, five years is forever. What will the Times and The Post look like by then?

Today In The Post:

* We've got two takes on companies bringing video to your cell phone. Yuki Noguchi reports on Verizon's deal to bring YouTube videos to users. Tech columnist Rob Pegoraro is less than thrilled with the idea.

Elsewhere:

* How's this: A Google exec believes that, within 12 years, an iPod will be able to "hold all the world's TV."

* Stephen Colbert plays the Nintendo Wii, calling it the top threat for the holiday.

By Frank Ahrens  |  November 28, 2006; 11:20 AM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Comments

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I READ THE NY TIMES ON SUNDAYS ONLY AND IT'S AN ENTERTAINMENT BARGAIN. BUT AS LONG AS NYT CONTINUES TO INSIST THAT IT'S NEWS COVERAGE IS UNBIASED AND COMPLETE THE FRONT SECTION IS NOT WORTH READING. NYT CLAIMS IT'S REPORTERS HAVE NO PERSONAL OPINIONS THAT EFFECT THEIR REPORTS, WHAT A JOKE THAT IS! DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO'S OPINIONS DON'T COLOR THEIR THINKING? IF I DEPENDED ON THE NYT ONLY FOR "NEWS" I'D CANCEL. READERS = ADVERTISING REVENUE AND THE TIMES IS DRIVING READERS AWAY BY NOT ADMITING THEIR OBVIOUS BIAS

Posted by: BARRY HORNSTEIN | November 28, 2006 1:56 PM

From 2000 to 2006 the large papers all too willingly jumped onto the Republican Proganda platform. The voters of this country knew that all was not well in Washington and the refusal of mass media to report the truth contributed greatly to the problem. Fortunately, the internet provides all types of sources of news that the mass media continues to ignore. Opinion and ommission are strong reasons to stop listening to mass media.

Posted by: nick | November 28, 2006 2:05 PM

I have to say that Nick you are one smart cookie. While you were out there looking for the truth the rest of America was doing "the propaganda shuffle." Well, I suppose, a good nuber of them still are.

Posted by: Cookie | November 28, 2006 3:10 PM

Nick, please fill us in on the Web sites for "all types of sources of news that the mass media continues to ignore."
And because you clearly abhor the "opinion and ommission" you find in the "mass media," I trust you won't be coming back with Web sites for blogs written by people with political axes to grind, people who do all of their reporting from their living room or den.

Posted by: Chris | November 28, 2006 5:17 PM

Unless the NY Times begins reporting objectively, rather than promoting the socialism and anti-Americanism embedded throughout its headlines, articles and editorials, it will drown. I have wondered how it has maintained as well as it has, given the likes of MoDowd, Friedman, Kristof and Krugman. Brooks balances their liberal, anti-American extremism to a tiny extent, but the NY Times will need lots more like him to upright their badly listing liberal mania.

I believe the reading public perceived the role of the NY Times and the Washington Post in 911. Reading the vituperation directed toward the current President that gushed from the editorials and caustic articles of these US flagship papers before and immediately after he first took office, foreign leaders and terrorists like bin Laden were emboldened to confidently challenge or bring down the world's only superpower. AFter all, if our two most internationally read newspapers were telegraphing their perceived view of the new President as inept, bungling and stupid, then he surely wouldn't respond to foreign aggression or manipulation any better than the brilliant Clinton did to the Cole attack.

As ordinary citizens, we may be a little dense at times, not up to the latest nano-second informed or enlightened, but we won't tolerate watching the strengths and principles that got us where we are today eviscerated by some biased, elitist rag like the NY Times.

Although the quality of the Post's articles tops the Times, they are in the same listing boat of socialism and anti-Americanism. Believe it or not, there are those of us who still love the USA for what it is, and don't want to indulge in ugly fantasies that denigrate our great country. Change?-OK, destruction?-never.

Posted by: JIm | November 28, 2006 5:51 PM

I think it's important to understand the difference between a newspaper's editorials and its articles.

For almost every single paper in the country, the editorial board and the reporters are two very different and separate pieces. Many times, critics of newspapers confuse the editorials as reflecting strictly objective reporting - something that is obviously not true, nor should it be. That's why there is a separate Op-Ed page for those submissions.

However, it seems that readers are less interested in being challenged by an opinion that may differ from their own, and more interested in searching for lesser controlled news sources that reflect their own world view. In today's age, people are readily able to do this; whereas, in the past, intelligent people enjoyed the challenge of becoming more informed by hearing an opposing view.

Posted by: Dakota Pants | November 28, 2006 6:30 PM

In 5 years, the Washington Post will be reduced to being a weekly news magazine (like Newsweek), primarily due to the level of reporting on major international and national stories. There is enough WP original material on major intl/national news for a weekly, but not enough for a daily, and wire news is available through the profitable Cable News Networks and the Internet. Currently, WP is filling the gaps with lots of editorials and wire news. As a result, I expect to see Newsweek and WP merge even further. It would make sense for WP to realize this and just go in that direction, rather than trying to maintain a daily newspaper. Putting the talents an energy behind a "super" Newsweek/Post weekly magazine is definitely the route for WP to go.

Posted by: Jeffrey | November 28, 2006 7:36 PM

The Times' reportage is superb, and whatever the political and social leanings of it staff, they are not the problem. Large and distinguished papers have an enormous overhead. They can continue to report the news just as well using gifted stringers while reducing staff. I believe that over the next several years, the great papers will survive, even prosper, with a new type of newsroom which employs excellent freelance talent and fewer staff reporters.

Posted by: Richard S. Wheeler | November 28, 2006 7:38 PM

"Our slogan is: you can talk when you need!Thare is no problem what we can not

solve."
http://www.top-wowgold.com

Posted by: edisern | November 28, 2006 10:14 PM

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