This article is my most recent reminder of why I don't read Barron's regularly. The second most recent reminder was this article back in May, which was listed under the "headlines" tab at the time for a stock I own, U.S. Energy Corp (USEG). At the time, this article wasn't available online, so I went to Barnes & Noble and looked for it in the dead tree edition of Barron's. Here was the one sentence that mentioned USEG,
Companies like Cameco (ticker: CCJ), BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RTP) and U.S. Energy (USEG) mine and/or trade uranium, although its value contribution to their shares is overshadowed by the many more popular metals these firms also trade.
Reading that, I thought: Is it too much to expect a Barron's writer to know at least as much about this company as me? U.S. Energy Corp. neither mines nor trades uranium, and, in fact, sold most of its uranium assets to Uranium One two years ago, as I have noted on this blog.
Barron's benefits from the inertia of its brand and of its readership. When I got out of college, I worked for a few months at a tiny, over-the-counter investment bank/brokerage in Manhattan where I was supposed to read Barron's every weekend. So I did. I'd read Alan Ableson's column, which was a little like Louis Rukeyser in print, and then I'd slog through the rest of it. I soon figured out that we weren't actually expected to learn anything useful from Barron's; we were supposed to read it because the affluent investors we were calling on read it, and they might mention something from the most recent issue and expect us to be familiar with it.
When journalists lament the decline of the print business, they ought to consider that the Google- and Craig's List-powered disruption of the advertising model isn't the only reason for print's decline; so is the decline of journalism itself. A lot of what passes for journalism today simply isn't worth paying for in any medium.