Surprise Source for Newspapers’ Woes

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A lot of what’s causing heartache for newspaper finances across the land is flying under the radar. Most pundits point to the availability of news online, which is all very good as one contributing factor, and others chart the migration of ads from print to online–or to oblivion in these trying times.

However, as both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Cleveland Plain Dealer announced restructurings over the weekend (the Star Tribune through bankruptcy), the bedrock of newspapers’ financial survival has been gobbled up by Craigslist and other free online advertising venues.

That would be the least flashiest aspect of the business–newspaper classified ads.

So, while newspaper readership is marginally down, classified advertising is hemhorraging. Analyze it as you may, but the bottom line is that newspapers are an endangered species, at least the big-city variety.

Which is all too sad.

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