Stillwater News Press

Opinion

March 23, 2009

What's behind the newspaper naysayers

By Randy Siegel — As many newspaper companies try to turn themselves around in a brutal economy, under huge debt loads and against a backdrop of increasingly funereal media coverage, it’s worth looking at the behavior and motives of some of the industry’s harshest critics.



Earlier this month, Time magazine, struggling for its own survival in the hemorrhaging newsweekly marketplace, published a column on its website entitled “The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America,” which hundreds of news outlets around the world ran under the headline “What Newspapers Will Die in 2009?” complete with a list of soon-to-be-dead newspapers. The trouble is that Time’s “report” appears to have been created from pure speculation, with minimal reporting or research, by a Time.com affiliate called 24/7 Wall St.



Needless to say, the Time piece roiled the newspaper industry, sparking denials and rebuttals while driving already beaten-down newspaper-company stocks even lower. Though 99% of the people who read this premature obituary probably assumed it was written by the professional journalists at Time magazine, it actually was written by Douglas McIntyre, an editor at 24/7 Wall St., which, according to its website, also runs a site called Volume Spike Investor, whose self-described goal is to bring stock-market speculators “5 to 10 stock ideas per day in unusual trading activity that we see in stock volume and in options activities. Many of these stocks are among very active and very liquid stocks, yet we will always aim to bring you key ideas in stocks that might not otherwise get noticed.”



It’s a sad day when Time magazine, once one of the most trusted publications in America, runs an unsubstantiated article on its website, without a single disclaimer, from Wall Street speculators who make their living peddling tips to help day-traders jump in and out of distressed stocks.

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