Opinion: Trump is selling himself. Readers say the L.A. Times shouldn’t help sell him
There are lots of reasons why people don’t buy newspapers.
I have a list of them on page one.
One is that I believe journalists have an independent duty to the public to maintain a critical independent press.
Another is that I believe that if newspaper editors and proprietors are going to be bought, they should be bought fairly and on terms that are transparent.
I believe that when politicians engage in a buy-and-bust cycle, they are acting out of their own self-interest, and that the public has a right to know where their money — and the policies they are trying to enact — is going.
I’m also concerned when newspaper owners are getting rich (see below) because I don’t think there is often a direct relationship between advertising revenue and profit. I believe that when publishers think there is an opportunity to invest in their own self-interest rather than investing in the public interest, they often get carried away.
I believe there are good news and bad news for the newspaper business this year.
Good news: The newspaper industry is doing very well, revenue is up, competition is strong, profits are up, and the readership is growing. The last time I checked, the readership number for the Times in L.A. County was about 22 million. We’re seeing more people reading and more people reading newspapers in America than ever before.
Some people want to talk about the Times’ mismanagement. To me, the Times’ recent mismanagement is a relatively small price to pay to gain the competitive advantage to compete with more profitable, better-funded media outlets.
The Times’ misjudgment about print advertising rates is understandable. In a highly competitive market, it is a competitive advantage to price things in terms of the value to the advertiser, not the number of people who will read the content.
A recent study by the American Association of Advertising Agencies concluded that newspaper print advertising rates have been declining. The evidence suggests that advertising rates declined for nearly all large newspapers in the past six years.
Some media experts have recommended an average print ad rate of about $1.21 in the Times to cover fixed news costs. Others have suggested an average price tag of