Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of the New York Times (NYSE:NYT) were getting thrown in the recycling bin today, falling as much as 19%, after the company badly missed on top and bottom lines in its third quarter earnings report.

So what: Revenue fell 0.6% to $449 million, well short of estimates of $479 million. Earnings per share were not any better, with a $0.01 adjusted loss on expectations of an $0.08 profit. The company's move to tighten its pay wall continued to show results, as digital subscriptions increased by 11% from the second quarter to 592,000, but advertising revenue suffered badly in the quarter, falling by 8.9%. The vast majority of that drop came from the print side, while digital ad revenue declined 2.2%.

Now what: The publisher sees similar trends going into the fourth quarter, with ad revenue at Q3 levels, and circulation revenue up 5% to 10% from a year ago, but the latest drop in ad revenue has to be disheartening for investors. While the verdict is still out on the Times subscription-based business model, digital ad revenue figures to be a key piece in the puzzle. I'd stay away until sales growth is moving in the right direction and the company is putting up consistent profits.

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Jeremy Bowman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.