Premature obituaries

From the Editor of The Buffalo News

Maybe this is what Mark Twain had in mind when he quipped, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

The former Buffalo newspaper editor must have understood what it’s like to be alive and well, even as the public wipes away a quiet tear at your demise.

That’s what life is like these days for many of us who work at The Buffalo News. People seem to think we’re at death’s door.

It’s far from true. There’s no question that American newspapers are going through difficult times. Large, well-established papers in major cities are going bankrupt or, in a couple of cases, closing altogether.

Here at The News, we’re more fortunate— although certainly not unaffected by the difficult trends.

How are we more fortunate?

1. We’re making a profit. The decline in advertising revenue is significant—and likely to get worse— but we’re still in the black and planning to stay that way.

2. We have none of the crippling debt that many newspaper owners are carrying. Many of those debt-heavy papers would be making money if it weren’t for their debt load.

3. We have extraordinarily high acceptance among local residents. The News, as a print newspaper, has the highest “market penetration” among the 50 or so largest metropolitan dailies in the United States.

4. Our Web site is the leading local media Web site, by far, in Western New York. When you combine the Web site and the newspaper, we’re reaching 80 percent of Western New Yorkers on a regular basis…