Worst conditions for 60 years? For US newspapers, it's true, says the FT

Everyone acted mystified when Alastair Darling, the Chancellor, welcomed Decca Aitkenhead into his highland croft in late August and told her that economic conditions “are arguably the worst they’ve been for 60 years”.

But no-one acted mystified this week when the scribblers at FT’s Lex column suggested that the US newspaper industry is experiencing the “worst industry recession since World War Two”.

Of course, the consensus view is that US newspapers have become a basket case in aggregate. Three consecutive years of revenue decline has a tendency to do that to an industry.

Still, it’s noticeable that both hacks and commentators are starting to reach further back in history to find parallels with what’s currently happening. A few months ago, comparisons with the early 1990s were standard. Now the early 1980s — and even the 1970s — are being selected for comparison.

There’s a long way to go until we get back to 1948. By the time we do, we’ll no doubt be fully briefed on the implications by a US newspaper industry that will itself be hurtling backwards towards a re-enactment of the Great Depression.

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