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Newspaper Stocks: Premature Burial

There is a death watch on Wall Street for the newspaper industry. The patient's condition sure doesn't look good, with slumping circulation, anemic ad sales, rising newsprint costs and competition from the Internet for readers' attention. In reality, newspapers are holding up quite well and have good stocks that are worth owning.

Take readership statistics. Gary Pruitt, chief executive of the country's eighth-largest newspaper company, McClatchy, recently pointed out in a Wall Street Journal editorial that 54% of all adults read a paper every day, and 60% do on Sundays--more people read a Sunday paper than watch the Super Bowl, television's biggest attraction of the year. Rumor also has it that young people rarely ever read the paper. The truth is, while not at the same high percentages as the broader population, 39% of young adults still read a daily paper. And odds are that more young folks will pick up that habit as they age.


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