Yesterday the price of a share of The McClatchy Company, the parent company of the Wichita Eagle, closed at 50 cents. That happens to be the newsstand price of a copy of the Eagle, although to buy a copy of the paper, you’ll have to add sales tax.
The decline in this company’s stock price — from over $70 four years ago to less than one dollar today — illustrates the magnitude of the crisis in the newspaper industry. While there are some who take delight in the financial difficulties of mainstream newspapers, I believe that newspapers are still an important institution. I hope they will find a way to survive.
The plight of newspapers does raise an issue or two, however. When the editorial page dishes out advice on fiscal issues, for example, should we pay any attention?