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April 23, 2008

Woe is They

The suits at Gannett, I mean — those dashing men and women charting the future of America's largest chain of "information centers," which includes The Burlington Free Press.

While we awaited a response — which never arrived — to the news that the Free Press had begun outsourcing advertising design to India, Gannett executives were releasing the company's latest quarterly performance report.

While holding their noses, presumably.

Here are the numbers: Publishing advertising revenue, down 13%; classified revenue, down 18%; real estate ad revenue, down 26%; help-wanted ad revenue, down 24%. The net result is that operating revenue for the first quarter 2008 is off more than 10 percent from first quarter 2007.

Over at Gannett Blog, former Gannett investigative reporter Jim Hopkins checks the financial wires and finds that the company's share price "has now traded down a whopping 8%, to a low of $25.17," the lowest since spring 1995.

Meanwhile, SmartMoney magazine has an interview with Gannett CEO Craig Dubow. The story notes, in the opening paragraph, that since Dubow took over the company  three years ago, its stock price has fallen by about 50 percent.  "Yet ask the affable 53-year-old about the industry and he'll use a word you might not expect: wonderful."

Well, for him, anyway — thanks to that $1.75 million bonus he received in 2007.

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