Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tough times means fewer foreign correspondents

U.S. Newspapers use to be a major source of jobs for reporters wishing to work overseas, but that has all changed during the current ad recession - read on. -MT
Since mid-2007, major downsizing — often coupled with grim financial reports — has been imposed at The San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, The San Jose Mercury News, USA Today and many others.

Advertising, the source of more than 80 percent of newspaper revenue, traditionally rose and fell with the overall economy. But in the last 12 to 18 months, that link has been broken, and executives do not expect to be able to repair it completely anytime soon.In 2007, combined print and online ad revenue fell about 7 percent. In the last six decades, only one other year — 2001, when there was a recession — had a steeper decline, according to the Newspaper Association of America. Adjusted for inflation, 2007 ad revenue was more than 20 percent below its peak in 2000.

Most papers have cut their newsrooms and simply done less reporting, especially overseas (in one recent example, The Baltimore Sun closed its last remaining foreign bureaus). The industry consumes about three-quarters as much newsprint as it did four years ago, a result of lower circulation and fewer ads, but also of fewer articles.

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