The National Enquirer is having an amazing week thanks to its coverage of John Edwards' philandering, but the supermarket tabloid is probably still going to die along with troubled parent company American Media Inc., the Times' David Carr reports for tomorrow's paper. It doesn't seem to matter that three of the best papers in the country all ran stories about how the Enquirer was right about Edwards and they were wrong or that the tabloid still owns the probably-not-finished scandal. AMI is so deep in the hole — nearly $1 billion! — that most analysts aren't even keeping track of the Edwards coverage or anything else about the company because they've written it off. One gave this fairly devastating quote to Carr, anonymously:
"They don't have a lot of options," said one media investment banker who followed the company in the past. "They can walk away, or they can sell assets. There will not be another big refinancing. They are pretty much at the end of the line."
Enquirer editor David Perel rightly brags about the tabloid's old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, prompting the passive-aggressive observation from Timesman Carr that "newspapers are cutting back in big whacks and chaining the remaining reporters they employ to their screens to feed all manner of deadlines and blogs."
But if awesome stories could save old media, the large American broadsheets wouldn't be struggling either. Perhaps a makeover of NationalEnquirer.com is in order. The current advertising there is for supermarket coupons, which can't be bringing in much revenue (and which were actually mocked in the comments section here even just as a hypothetical idea.)