Friday, January 30, 2009

Gannett, Tennessean continue to sink into sunset; if not for employees, this would cause for glee

Gannett Co., Inc., owner of The Tennessean, continued its swift financial decline as it announced shocking results today on the rapid fall in value of corporate newspaper chains.

The company that no longer is the corporate giant it once was reported $5.9 billion in writedowns for the fourth quarter due to decline in the value of its poor in quality newspapers. I did not believe contentions before by its critics, but I now believe Gannett's days are numbered.

Here is how reported the news:

Headline: Gannett writes off up to $5.9 billion in assets as quarterly revenue misses, net income dives 36%

Gannett reported lower preliminary fourth-quarter earnings today, but even those profits will be wiped out once the company takes pretax writedowns of as much as $5.9 billion to reflect the declining value of its newspapers.

The nation's top newspaper publisher said preliminary net income fell to $158 million, or 69 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, down 36% from a year ago, as advertising revenue continues to take a beating because of the recession, the Associated Press said.

Operating revenue plunged 8.5%, to $1.74 billion, on a 23% drop in newspaper advertising sales. Wall Street media stock analysts had forecast $1.79 billion.

Despite knowledge of these coming numbers, one of top corporate Gannett executives recently charged the company $15,000 for his fee to play in pro-am golf tournament. After information of this immorality hit Gannettblogspot, the executive was forced to pay the company back for his fee. Meanwhile, employees are being forced to take one-week furloughs this quarter -- without pay. They can expect the same for each of the other three quarters.

If you still subscribe to The Tennessean or advertise in it, you are propping up an entrenched, uncaring institution that deserves to fail. At the very least, Gannett should let its employees onto a life boat by selling The Tennessean to community investors who care about this region and its people.

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