NEWS-HERALD, Panama City, Kla„ Thursday, Juno 27,1974 Page He Newspapers:Thriving Chains, Gasping Giants tim V6RK - (LENS) The Ataerlcan newspaper In* du'slf y, according to some observers, is in serious straits. With strlKes and lockouts re- ctifttly plaguing New York, /ashlngton and Pittsburgh, this, diagnosis may appear justified. There is no doubt that newspapers in metropolitan centers have been hard hit. :. > : v , • Over the past decade, some have: ceased publication, others have been taken over in mergers and the survivors, by and large, have suffered from shrinking profit margins. But this unhappy state of affairs is confined to the smalt minority of big operations. In contrast, most of the country's 1,700-odd newspapers, which enjoy monopoly status in their own areas, are enjoying record profits. The deaths of newspapers In com: petltlve cities have been more than offset by the birth of new and prosperous dailies in suburban areas where there is no competition. Despite higher costs and the rivalry of radio and television, the nation's newspapers have managed to increase their revenues steadily over the past 10 years. At present, they are attracting over 30 per cerit of total sales of advertising; or about as much as magazines, radio and television combined. Far from dying, the news paper industry is now experiencing a period of almost frenetic activity. In the*last few years the chains have been acquiring a substantial number of independent dailies, especially in small and medium-sized cities where they have little or no competition. < Gannett, with .over 50 publications, Harte-Hanks With 22, Ridder Publications with 19, are among the chains with aggressive acquisition programs. At the same time, the industry, led by the chains, has been investing heavily in ai'hmation., Although the photo-composition process has .been available since the early 1960s, it did not become widely used until recently. In 1971,44 per cent of all dailies had converted, In whole orln part, to photo-composition, and by last year industry analysts estimate, some 80 per cent had embraced the ir -Mxcimor NtWIMKM I 1 CIDCUMtlON- 9$ Www Www to This year the papers in big cities - Pittsburgh, Washington, Baltimore, Kansas City and New York - are finally waging spirited bat- SUPER-RIGHT" HEAVY WESTERN, 1955 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 new technology. shareholders (most are publicly owned although under family control), they are determined to introduce automated techniques for printing. Newspaper executives insist that they will automate even If it involves long strikes and expensive settlements in the end. According to their calculations, the savings for automation will more than electronic media), restrictive P»y for higher wage agree- work rules (that have led to ments with the printers. In overmanning) and from their nder increasing pres- Igher costs (es cially for newsprint and for sure from higher costs (espe sprint and foi manpower, which itself ac counts for up to SO per cent of their budgets), intensified competition (from local and suburban papers as well as 13 v Jii4 WHERE ECONOMY ORIGINATES U.S.D.A. GRADE A FROZEN 10 to 14 lb. AVG. SUPER-RIGHT^ FULLY COOKED, TENDER SMOKED Shonk Portion LB. LB: Center Slice Horn WITH SMALL ROUND BONE $1.19 lib. PKG. ! YOUR CHOICE Super-Right' SLICED SPICED WMHEON YOUR CHOICE TOP OR BOTTOM OR SIRLOIN TIP STEAK BONELESS GRADE "4"A" FRESH FLA,orGA 7 1 EES SUPER-RIGHT A&P BRAND SUPER.RIGHJ.HEAVYWESfERN BEEF IB BONEIESS $1.68 1 LB .PKG . 12oz PKG SUPER-RIGHT, HEAVY WE5TERN BEEF BONEIESS MAXWELL HOUSE INSTANT _ , 10 oz JAR SUPER.RIGHT . HEAVY WESTERN BEEF Ground Round ™ $129 Sirloin Tip Roast COPELAND'S Sliced Ham LB, "SUPER- RIGHT" COUNTRY TREAT Whole Hog Sausage LI. 18 IOOI PKG m $1.58 $1.59 INSTANT COFFEE MUELLERS,ELBOW 1 LB. PKG HEINZ 32 oz JAR SUPER-RIGHT.FROZEN CHOPPED 21b. _ .BO* BANQUET, FROZEN |N00DIES 1 BEEF, MAC S> BEEF, &CHip,&N00DLES % lb. EACH FROZEN ,BULK •199 PERCH FILLETS QUICK FROZEN, HEADLESS ECONOMY SIPPERS <1.I9 RED SNAPPER TUNA NOODLE CAP'N JOHN'S, FROZEN QUICK FROZEN, HEADLESS • LB." SMALL LB Handi Wrap Dow Bathroom Cleaner 200 FT J SIZE. 20 oi BTLEl 12 oz. EACH LB 35< Umwi 1)11 19« Uwatltht pwr <fcair ol I' I 11 A v I / m obi. Thil laupon 36c iR.rfMmdblflhruS.AT.iLiNiW I P [QN ! ( A \\ A (, S UHP W '«M WITH |7;50 ORDfll Lni»p J UUitmMf thru SAT. JUNE W. 59t 89* A&P 20 QUART INSTANT MILK $3.99 ASST. FIAVOIS A&P Canned Drinks 3 . $1.00 Nabisco Snack Crackers ' e v,"59( Sunshine Cheez-its s«57e McVities Citrello Creams .;49( McVities Rondello 59* addition, they expect an extra bonus in the form of a rise in the price of their shares, which will make it possible for them to acquire other newspaper properties at lower cost; this will bolster their earnings. It is probable that metro* politan publishers will get their way, at a price. But it is doubtful whether they will ever attain the bumoer profits already being achieved by the chains. Because of their size and circulation, they spend much more on newsprint than smaller papers. Then, too, other costs are much higher for the metropolitan press. Big papers need large staffs, including Washington, regional and foreign correspondents, and elaborate distribution systems, which are wholly unionized. Journalists on metropolitan newspapers earn an average of $400 a week, about twice the rate paid by smaller papers. To be sure, the leading papers make some money and more prestige by syndicating their national and international news reports, but compared with smaller papers that purchase their services they are overloaded with personnel. Few big papers make money on circulation sales, although they have been raising their prices (the New York Times and Washington Post now sell at 15 cents a copy on weekdays, 50 cents on Sunday). Competition, moreover, prevents them from passing on costs as easily as monopoly chains can. So the pressure on their profit margins is likely to continue. But automated setting of type is simply the first stage in what may turn out to be the most extensive revolution in printing since Gutenberg. The next phase, involving the use of multiple laser-beams, will enable written and edited copy to be etched directly and automatically on plates for instant reproduction, thereby eliminating most of the skilled manpower engaged in engraving and printing. Both Gannett and Knight are actively planning to introduce this innovation. They are also working on using computers to aid distribution. These are already being installed in Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Washington, D.C. Under this system, papers coming from the presses are stacked, wrapped, tied and conveyed, by computer-directed trays, straight into designated slots in delivery trucks for shipment to consumers. The one thing that newspapers cannot do much about is newsprint, which costs more and is less plentiful than it used to be. During last year's shortage, some smaller pa- f iers had to curtail advertis- ng to keep on printing. While newsprint is no longer in short supply, its cost has increased Dy about 17 per cent. Publishers have taken aggressive measures to use less, sending fewer copies to news stands and cutting the ratio of news to advertising. With' the lifting of price controls this spring, they are also increasing advertising rates and the price of their papers. But putting up the prices tends to lose both advertisers and readers, which again hits the competitive metropolitan dailies nardest. Conserving newsprint, though, has resulted in tighter and trimmer papers, giving greater emphasis to timely hard news and less to "soft" timeless features. Automation may not be a cure-all for the leading papers' woes, but it should assure somewhat more profitable operations for the survivors. According to newspaper analyst Lee Dirks, it is probable that fully automated operations will stimulate competition in areas now served by a single paper, because, with less manpower needed, it will be much cheaper and easier to start up a daily from scratch. The recent transformation of some "underground" papers of the 1960s into publications aimed at a general readership suggests that such a development may not be far off. As it is, a new conservative daily is being prepared in New York City by John Shaheen, an oil entrepreneur who plans to make use of new technology and avoid dependence on union labor. While the profits of New York's three existing papers hardly indicate that there is rconi for another, Shaheen's venture gives a foretaste of >.hat is likely elsewhere.
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