We talk about the ongoing death of the newspaper medium a lot around here, because we are evil bloggers who hate the paper industry and, furthermore, are personally responsible for every beat reporter laid off in the past five years, because their CEOs decided to cut their jobs after reading about how bad their industry is here, on the blogs. Well, at least we have numbers on our side—the side of darkness and unemployment. How bad is the outlook for newspapers in 2009? How about epically, historically, never-seen-before bad? Is that bad enough? Because that's how bad it is:

Yesterday was the 36th annual big fancy UBS media conference. The organizers canceled a presentation on newspaper advertising. That's how bad it is. Though that didn't stop the following awful, excruciating projections for newspaper ad spending in '09 from being released:

Mr. Coppet is predicting that local ad spending in newspapers in 2008 could fall 9 percent from 2007 and in 2009 it could fall 21 percent from 2008.

For newspapers in general — local and national ads, in America and other regions around the world — the declines Mr. Coppet is forecasting are, he wrote in a report, “the worst in the history” of the medium.

The worst in history. That would be bad. May I have another, sir?

He is predicting a 16 percent decline in ad spending for local newspapers in 2008 compared with 2007. ..
And it will be almost as bad for local newspapers come next year, Mr. Coen predicted, with ad spending declining 12 percent compared with 2008.

That is like bad meatloaf topped with gravy made out of bad! And for dessert?

As a result, Mr. Smith forecast a “cultural shift” in the newspaper industry, as local and regional papers adjust from 30 percent profit margins to 10 percent margins — “forever.”

That's the most optimistic thing we've heard all day. [NYT]