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Newspaper Death Spiral

September 2, 2010 by admin

I gave up my decades long subscription to the L.A. Times when they fired Robert Scheer November 2005. After that I bought it only occasionally from newsstands or street boxes. Most often I would do this when I had breakfast at McDonalds. Breakfast at McDonalds would give me more than coffee and a sugar roll AND change back from a $5 bill. Two quarters would usually buy a L.A. Times from the box outside to be read over breakfast. When I was regularly going into the office I did this at least once or twice a week. Since I had to close the office, trips to McDonalds are much fewer.

I stopped for breakfast at McDonalds on Lincoln a few weeks ago and I guess I hadn’t been there in a while. You don’t get as much change back from a $5 bill. Fortunately I had my own two quarters!

But when I went outside the McDonalds to buy a newspaper, I found that the box was missing. Gone! I stood where it had stood for years. I could see rush patterns in the sidewalk and the ripped out bolts that testified to its former existence, but it was gone. Undaunted, I spied what appeared to be a L.A. Times box about a block away and headed out for it. When I got to it, I found that it was indeed a L.A. Times box but it was empty. Which was just as well because it now take 3 quarters to open it for a daily and I only had 2.

That’s when the news hit me that the L.A. Times was going down the tubes in a death spiral but fast. At a time when people have less money to spend, they are playing a reverse trifecta. They are making the paper harder to find, more expensive to buy, and thinner. Since they fire Robert Scheer, a lot thinner.

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