This is an assessment of its creditworthiness, not the trustworthiness of its political campaign coverage, but note this report:
The New York Times Co. reported a steep drop in third-quarter profits on Thursday, the latest gloomy earnings report in an industry battered by online competition and falling print advertising revenue.
The New York Times Co. said net profit fell by 51.4 percent in the third quarter to 6.5 million dollars, or five cents per share, from 13.4 million dollars, or nine cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
The company, which owns About.com, The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune and 16 other daily newspapers besides the flagship The New York Times, said overall advertising revenue fell by 14.4 percent during the quarter.
Shortly after the release of its results, Standard & Poors said it was lowering the Times’s credit rating to “BB-,” or junk status, while Moody’s Investors Service said it was placing it on review for possible downgrade.
Moody’s changed the rating outlook for the company to negative from stable in July. A further downgrade would reduce it to junk status. Both companies said the moves were based on the uncertain outlook for newspaper advertising.
Clearly the current economic situation has potential advertisers conserving cash, which increases the pressure on traditional media companies like the Times Co. But this is just a flare-up in a chronic disease: as I’ve previously noted (here, here, here, here, here, here and here), the big story about big media for the last decade has been gradual decline.
Recessions in the general economy just make it less gradual.