Is this the future of the newspaper?
Lee Enterprises announced a loss
of $26.6 million for the second fiscal quarter ending March 25, for a loss of 54 cents per common share of stock. That's down quite a bit from the 3 cent loss per share in the same quarter for 2011, but the difference between the two years is that this year Lee paid $38.7 million in debt restructuring in order to emerge from bankruptcy -- no small feat.
Of course, that emergence also netted CEO Mary Junck a $500,000 bonus. Any time you can pay an executive to only lose $26.6 million in a quarter, you have to seize that opportunity -- that's in the Art of War
, I think.
The financial news is not all grim for Lee, however. The company reports that digital sales are up 9.9 percent, and that circulation revenue increased slightly (0.1 percent). The most significant number in the blizzard of figures is Lee's reported increase in mobile page views, up an astonishing 174 percent in March. I don't know how one properly appreciates a newspaper on a smartphone screen, but it appears I'm in the minority -- and a rapidly decreasing minority at that.