Future Newspaper Revenue Models

Here’s a weird story. It seems United’s stock fell 76 percent today before recovering to being down just 12 percent from its previous peak. The reason? Bogus bankruptcy rumors:

In a statement, United said the rumor occurred when the Web site of The Sun-Sentinel, a Florida newspaper, posted a six-year-old article from The Chicago Tribune archives about United’s previous bankruptcy filing. The airline operated under bankruptcy protection from 2002 through 2006.

Things then further circulated around, leading to the stock collapse. And here we see perhaps a model to maintain the financial viability of newspapers. Any organization that spends enough money to garner a reputation as a credible news source could then turn around and tank a company’s stock with a bogus story. Then you buy shares up on the cheap, and make big bucks as the stock recovers. Of course, the bulk of your stories still need to pass as credible, semi-accurate journalism — you can’t just run this trick every day — but there’s a lot of money to be made here.