It's time for newspaper and magazine companies to start reporting how they did in the first quarter of this wondrous year, 2009, when The Lord smote them for their sins. It was epically terrible.

Thirty percent. That's how much advertising analysts say many (most?) big newspaper chains lost, roughly, in the first quarter. To put that in perspective: that is a 30% decline in your fucking advertising, compared to last year. That is the worst quarter many newspaper execs have ever seen in their careers. And the common theme in all the comments: Nobody thought it would be this bad!

[It] is clear that once again, even the most pessimistic predictions were not dark enough...

"This is far worse than anything any of us has seen," said an executive at a major newspaper company. "We can keep cutting, but we need this to start to bottom out."

You people just keep proving Nick Denton right. Stop that. As for magazines, the news is nearly as bad:

Ad pages in consumer magazines dropped 25.9 percent while ad revenue fell 20.2 percent in the first quarter of 2009, according to figures released today by the MPA's Publishers Information Bureau.

With any luck, the first quarter of 09 will go down as the worst quarter for print media in a generation. But don't count on it. This and also this: still alive and hungry, unfortunately.
[NYT, Folio. Pic via]