E.W. Scripps Updating Its Obituary For Newspaper Business

If we were a newspaper cartoonist drawing a cartoon about the state of the newspaper industry, we would currently be sketching another nail being driven into a coffin that we had helpfully labeled "newspaper industry." E&P reports:

Wall Street's darling of the newspaper sector, E.W. Scripps, could be exiting the newspaper business. Executives at the Cincinnati-based company stated during an investor conference on Tuesday they are evaluating different options regarding its newspaper assets. Scripps management said they have been looking at different strategies over the past six months to unlock more value in the stock. "Clearly the most advantageous route in some form or fashion [is to] separate the newspaper business from the rest of the business," said Joseph NeCastro, Scripp's executive vice president/finance and administration

This is pretty significant: If an organization like Scripps doesn't see an upside in the dead tree biz, what hope is there for anyone else? While the article notes a couple of factors that might hinder Scripps' ability to shed itself of pulp assets ("Merrill Lynch analyst Lauren Rich Fine wrote there is a stipulation set by the family [trust] that requires newspaper ownership"), we've got to guess they're going to find a way around it:

E.W. Scripps Updating Its Obituary For Newspaper Business

If your options were owning a piece of Rachel Ray and Peanuts or the Rocky Mountain News and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, which would you pick? (From a financial standpoint, not an aesthetic one.) On the plus side, we're sure junior-league David Geffens all over Tennessee and Colorado are licking their lips right now in anticipation of having platforms of their own to run into the ground.

E.W. Scripps Considering Alternative Strategies for Newspapers [E&P]