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What’s Black and White and Not Read at All?

The most likely loser in the fallout from our financial mess is something near and dear to my heart. Newspapers.


For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be in the newspaper biz. I started fashioning my own at age 6, carefully hand-drawing and writing entire front pages, lifting the information from the local daily my folks got.

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Newsprint has been there for me from the Kennedy assassination to our first steps into space, from war to anti-war protests, Watergate to the Iran-Contra deals, on and on and on.

I got my start with a local paper way back when, went to college to learn the craft, and then could never get a gig with a daily newspaper. I ended up going in other directions, but have clung to newsprint like a baby to a teddy bear.

The Internet surely has hurt the newspaper biz. Over the past decade, circulation has fallen like a rock, and most experts attribute that decline to the power of the WWW. While I don’t doubt that, I do sense that most people have stopped reading or caring about the news. That is another post on another day.


U.S. daily newspaper circulation dropped an average of 4.6% over the last year, piling on to past years of sharp declines. Newspapers in other countries, by contrast, are faring much better – off in circulation, to be sure, but far better off than their American counterparts.

Now, with the global economic crisis, U.S. newspapers are really taking it. The Christian Science Monitor has forsaken print altogether and now only publishes online. The Detroit Free-Press and Detroit News, which have long shared business operations and printing, are about to end home delivery save for a few days of the week, shifting also to online versions. Our Cleveland and Akron papers are so thin anymore it’s hardly worth the effort.


Still I cling to my papers, though I will admit that most of my news reading today comes from online resources.

For our part, we’re not sure what impact the economy will have of Tire Review. This is what I do know: this magazine has been in existence for 108 years, and we have survived two World Wars and the Great Depression and countless recessions – periods where advertising suffered badly. I have every confidence we will be here once all of this is done.

We expect business will be soft in 2009, but that will not prevent us from continuing to deliver the kind of information, insight and content you demand from this industry’s best-read publication.


If you have comments to share, send to me at [email protected]

– Jim Smith

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