My former associate was laid off from Merrill Lynch earlier this week as part of its job slashing. I can assure you it wasn’t a comment on his talent but more a confirmation that you don’t need an analyst to tell you what direction newspaper stocks are headed. As I wrote last week, the NWS bid for Newsday did not have shareholders in mind and I feel confident that Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) shareholders are feeling much the same.
As I am about to attend the second full day of Journalism that Matters’ Newstools 2008 conference, I realize that the bidders probably partly share my view that newspapers are really worth saving and savoring. It is an enormous challenge to figure out what allows newspapers to survive and in what form. Attending this conference that is full of legacy journos, I am encouraged that they finally understand the financial challenge and are trying to be part of the solution. I would relish the opportunity to run a newspaper (did anyone say Lake County or Lorain?) and also be part of the solution — but the purchase price would have to be incredibly low as this isn’t a venture for short-term investors.