OLD Media Moves

The shortsightedness of cutting newspaper stock listings

January 27, 2006

I just had a telephone conversation with someone who is doing a lot of thinking about the recent decisions by some major newspapers to cut their stock listings in the business section in an attempt to save money because it decreases the amount of newsprint used by the paper.

This person, who shall go nameless because of their position, was trying to figure out a way to convince newspaper publishers or editors to keep the stock listings, and wanted my opinion on the topic.

Here is what I said:

1. A majority of households in this country own stocks. In metropolitan areas, the percentage is probably higher. I’d venture that thousands and thousands of these people want to be able to check the stock prices of their portfolio on at least a regular basis.

2. Older people, who also tend to own more stocks, read newspapers more often than younger readers, who own fewer stocks.

3. Newspapers can add stock listings to their Web sites while keeping stock listings in the newspaper because different readers would be attracted to going to the Web. If you added nice features like putting all stocks that fell a certain amount in red or rose a certain amount in green, that would be cool.

4. Cutting stock listings is a short-term financial decision, and in the long-term will continue to turn people away from newspapers and more toward the Internet.

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