Traditional newspapers continue to struggle

The financial trouble of traditional newspapers is hitting even the most stable companies, including the highly diversified Washington Post Co.

The Post reported a dip into the red during the last financial quarter on Saturday, the first time ever in the company’s 37 years of public trading.

The company said the $87 million buyout of employees last year to reduce headcount was a big factor in the poor financial numbers, but it also disclosed a 22-percent decrease in print advertising revenue and a $5.3 million operating loss.

Sales of online advertising was up 4 percent but was nowhere near enough to counterbalance the downturn of the printed product.

The latest news shouldn’t surprise experts following the newspaper industry, which has been in a decline for years. The Colorado Independent is following the downturn of traditional newspapers as well as possible new online advertising solutions newspaper execs and Internet companies are working on.

The Washington Post Co. has largely been able to stay afloat while other publishing giants have suffered because of its investment in Kaplan, an education publishing company, and because of some of its cable and Internet franchises.

It also owns Newsweek, a large-circulation news magazine, which posted a $3.7 million loss during the second quarter.