Well, we're used to seeing excited headlines about the wonderfulness and pure adorableness of CEOs in newspapers ... but we are not used to seeing excited headlines about newspapers. That's why my spirits were so lifted when I saw headlines like this about Lee Enterprises ( LEE), the publisher of dozens of daily newspapers, Thursday:
Lee's quarterly profit rises, shares jump , and Lee Rises, 4Q Profit Nearly Doubles , which came with a redundantly over-the-top subheadline: "Shares of Lee Enterprises Climb As 4th-Quarter Profit Nearly Doubles." Anyhow, hold the applause. There was an extra week in the quarter, and without it, sales would have fallen. There were tax benefits and, outside of that, almost all the current indicators (declining subscribers, broad-based weakness in almost everything except for a slight sign of life in online advertising numbers, when online newspaper viewing only sets newspapers on a collision course with their much higher margin newspaper subscribers.) Some of these facts appeared in the articles, which makes the headlines all the more egregious. Remember: Don't be a headline reader. In all, Lee's quarter was not as horrendous as some we've seen in the newspaper business, but it merited those supportive headlines as much as Chuck Prince.