On the beat: media

Financial reports and media news were largely intertwined in 2008, as many media companies - suffering from the economic downturn and fearing a barren 2009 - cut jobs, publications, and editions.

Financial reports and media news were largely intertwined in 2008, as many media companies – suffering from the economic downturn and fearing a barren 2009 – cut jobs, publications, and editions.

The financial pain was especially felt at the top traditional media brands, perhaps no more so than Tribune Co., which filed for Chapter 11 protection in early December. The New York Times, fresh off a round of layoffs, saw its stock hit 52-week lows numerous times during the fourth quarter.

Even new media companies felt the drain of the economy. Gawker Media laid off 19 of its 133 editorial employees in October, and suspended its page-view-based bonuses.

An overriding theme of media news was the inability of traditional print and broadcast outlets to create acceptable revenue flow from their online offerings. Although late to the game, media brands are designating staff members, developers, and salespeople exclusively for their Web sites. The Washington Post, for example, launched the 44 blog, chronicling the transition of the Obama administration into the White House.

As the media landscape evolves, PRWeek plans to cover the drastic changes by chronicling the transformation and analyzing the effect it will have on the communications industry at large.

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