Newspapers' Free-Fall (Illustrated)

What you're looking at above is the five-year stock chart for the Tribune Co., which owns the Sun-Sentinel. Its stock is worth about $3.7 billion now, down about half from its high in 1999. They're trying to complete a deal to go private with Chicago billionaire Sam Zell that I think Zell is going to lose his ass on.

No gloating at the Miami Herald, though. Here's the five-year chart for its parent, McClatchy:

That's a grim plunge, folks, the worst of all. McClatchy stock was going for an all time high of about $76 a share or so a few years ago. Right now the same share is checking in at $13.31. You do the math. It's ugly. But if you think those two companies are alone, check this one out:

That's the New York Times company, which is now worth about $2.4 billion on the market, down from its all-time high of about three times that.

That's all. Just wanted to cheer you up. It's the Pulp's mission during this holiday season. There is but one real hope for these companies: Finding a way to truly "monetize" the Internet while gradually shedding the flabby ways of the past. At the same time, they have to remain relevant -- and that means doing kick-ass journalism, not telling people how to buy an XBox 360. In other words, there's hope in this catastrophe -- and opportunity.

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