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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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At least newspapers are more profitable than movies or music!

Barron's reports, "This Dying Medium Has Plenty of Life":

Recent hysteria over the imminent demise of daily newspapers is misplaced. As an economic matter, most newspapers still are far more profitable than other, higher-profile consumer media. As a policy matter, those calling for government subsidies or other protections ignore the true state of the marketplace of ideas: It has never been so vibrant.

Newspapers do face a genuine crisis, but the nature of this crisis is misunderstood. [...]

Doing worse doesn't mean doing badly. Until recently, many newspapers had profit margins exceeding 30%. By 2008, the industry's average margin had fallen to the mid-teens. The speed and magnitude of this decline have resulted in wrenching changes in the way these historically stable businesses must operate.

The continuing drama shouldn't distract from real earnings power. Many newspapers still have almost double the profitability of other media sectors, such as movies, music and books -- which have long struggled to achieve margins of even 10%.

One note: Does it seem peculiar to anyone that the word "even" is used to characterize a 10% profit? Since when is profit of any size something to sneeze at?

(tip: Daily Dish)

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