One publisher’s bankruptcy shows the fate of newspapers


The McClatchy bankruptcy affects the printing of physical prints of newspapers, a decline that has been happening for the past 10 years.

The McClatchy publishing company, the second-largest newspaper publisher in the US, filed for bankruptcy protection. The company publishes newspapers like The Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, Sacramento Bee and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Although this doesn’t affect large companies such as the aforementioned immensely, it does predict the decrease of local newspaper printings and productions. 

Since 2004, Illinois has lost a tremendous number of weekly newspapers, about 157 according to WQAD8 in their 2018 report on the decline of journalism across the state. The reason for this decline is due to a loss of readers and poverty. This is because many people are less attracted to a subscription newspaper, like The New York Times or TheDaily Herald. They would rather use their money for other priorities, which is one of the ways that many companies make revenue. Many of the 157 newspapers that closed are in smaller towns or the suburbs. The McClatchy bankruptcy that is happening now shows how many local newspapers are dwindling.

According to McClatchy DC, advertisement revenue dropped about 80 percent and circulation dropped 58.6 percent. This shows the fate of many newspapers across the country. records that weekly print distribution decreased by 12 percent in 2018. Most of the top newspapers, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, US Today, and others, have switched to online. This doesn’t mean that these newspapers are solely online, but they are finding a balance between printed and online circulation. But having these newspapers switching over to online hurts publishing businesses that work on physical copies like McClatchy. 

Their foreclosing was not a surprise to the public as “McClatchy disclosed that it did not believe it would be able to make a mandatory $124 million contribution to its pension plan in 2020” according to The New York Times. This bankruptcy cost about 24,000 McClatchy jobs. The president of the NewGuild, Jon Schleuss, stated last month that “Continued financialization of local news will destroy our democracy. It’s time for communities across America to stand up and fight to save local news.”