Skip to main content

This column was originally published on RealMoney on Sept. 13 at 8:50 a.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for readers.

Every time I think that my business is challenging, I think of what the newspapers face. The newspaper game, for the last decade, has been one of cost cuts and mergers. There's been no growth in the business.

Now, with regulatory authorities frowning on any further mergers, with the cost cuts already in place to the point where you might just as well run

Associated Press

copy throughout if you make more job eliminations and with newsprint and delivery costs through the roof, a bleaker situation looks, alas, even more bleak than I thought.

Nobody controls costs as well as


( KRI). But its

negative announcement this morning reveals these newspapers as the ultimate value trap. They are losing on every line item. Now it's auto classifieds; they are down big.

That can only be explained as a share-take by the Web, because last I looked, the auto companies were advertising up a storm.

These newspaper companies are in dire need of something, but, frankly, I don't know what it is. They missed the Web, mostly because they were so intent on developing their own versions of the Web that they left everything ungated. That strategy made






Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

the only newspapers you needed. They missed cable, except for



. They seem incapable of being anything other than public services, and even there, they are falling down on the job.

Image placeholder title

Sure, they have cash flow. But who can monetize it? To me, they are just declining assets, call options with some dividend money thrown in. With no one available to take them out. Or, with boards that actually don't want to be taken over, a la

The New York Times


and Dow Jones.

In other words, stay away.

Random musings:

A radio listener recently asked me why I don't provide more investment strategies with options. This type of investing is a little more complicated than others, but if you're interested in options trading, then you should try our new service, Options Alerts. Steve Smith, our options expert at

and a


commentator, provides options trades every week of the year.

P.S. from Editor-in-Chief, Dave Morrow:

It's always been my opinion that it pays to have more -- not fewer -- expert market views and analyses when you're making investing or trading decisions. That's why I recommend you take advantage of our

free trial offer



premium Web site, where you'll get in-depth commentary


money-making strategies from over 50 Wall Street pros, including Jim Cramer. Take my advice --

try it now.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Yahoo!.

James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of He contributes daily market commentary for's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for and, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for

ActionAlertsPLUS. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by

clicking here. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click

here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click

here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click

here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click

here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." Cramer appreciates your feedback and invites you to send him an email by

clicking here