On My Radar 4/28/09: News Circulation Steep Drop

* Newspaper Circs Drop
* Music Bigs Settle With Family For $7K
* Big Corps Need Cash
* Verizon Doing Well


Here are the stories that interest me this morning, along with why I think they may be interesting or useful to nonprofit, philanthropy, or community-based organization leaders:

  • Newspaper circulation continues its slide. Among the top 25 daily newspapers, all showed drops for the October-March period, and most significant. The only bright spot was the Wall Street Journal, which had a .61% uptick. The full list of circulation numbers is here. No, NYT is not tops — my fave, USA Today is.
    • My take: I am as tired of the “newspapers are dying” story as the next person, but this cannot be denied. The money has all shifted online. Blame Craigslist’s free classifieds. Time to retool, people.
  • Music industry lawyers settled with one of their lawsuit targets for $7K.
    Patti Santangelo holds court papers. Photo by Kathy McLaughlin, AP
    Patti Santangelo holds court papers. Photo by Kathy McLaughlin, AP
    Patricia Santangelo was targeted in the series of file-sharing lawsuits the Recording Industry Association of America brought some time ago. She fought back, which came as a surprise to the plaintiffs. Her defense: she had no clue how to download music. At one point, a federal judge described her as an “Internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo.” Turns out her sons had been downloading. The settlement for $7,000 will be paid out over months in installments of $583.33.
    • My take: Illegal downloading is wrong. Not because it rips the artists off so much (record companies do that just fine) — but just because it’s wrong. That’s not enough, though. For people in the intellectual property business, we need a new model of what constitutes “ownership.”
  • Big corporations need more cash. General Motors offered to sell more than half of itself to the government and auto unions for $11.6 billion more in loans. (Current shareholders would own just 1% after the deal). Citibank and Bank of America, meanwhile, after the White House stress tests, are likely to need large infusions of capital too, according to the government.
    • My take: The continued announcements of needed huge bailouts makes one wonder what’s worth saving anymore.
  • Verizon announced good quarterly results yesterday. They earned 63 cents per share, beating analysts’ predictions of 59 cents. It ended the quarter with 86.6 million wireless subscribers. But the big news? In answer to a question about rumors of a Verizon iPhone, Verizon COO Denny Strigl gave no comment and followed up with: “Historically we haven’t been dependent on any one device. We’ve been well-positioned with high-value customers.”
    • My take: iPhone is the must-have among my peers and I am holding out because AT&T’s network is inferior to Big Red. I may have to wait longer! Verizon smartly bides its time and only adds products when ready, regardless of complaints from the Zeitgeist.

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