Cash flow squeezed for newspapers

Chicago Tribune newspapers for sale

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: In this economy, there's no place to hide. No company is immune, no industry is safe from the fallout. I have three examples this morning. Dow Chemical said it's going to closing 20 plants, cut 5,000 jobs, and sell off businesses to save money. In Britain, an auto parts maker named Wagon has filed for the British equivalent of bankruptcy.

Then there's the newspaper business. And again, nobody's immune -- not The New York Times, not The Chicago Tribune. Here's Marketplace's Dan Grech.


Dan Grech: Reports say The Tribune Company, owner of 23 TV stations and 12 newspapers, could declare bankruptcy as early as this week. The company is drowning in debt.

Real-estate mogul Sam Zell borrowed billions to take the Tribune private a year ago. But as cash flow has declined, the company now teeters on default.

Sree Sreenivasan is dean of student affairs at Columbia Journalism School. He says several U.S. cities could lose their newspapers in the coming year.

Sree Sreenivasan: Change in the news business is constant, and we have seen that for decades and decades. What we've not seen is the kind of immense anxiety across the country like we're seeing now.

The Gray Lady is also feeling that anxiety. The New York Times said today it plans to borrow $225 million against its new Manhattan headquarters.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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