The Death of Newspapers

I remember hearing in my earliest student days about the death of the novel and the death of the theater. I read a piece recently bemoaning the death of the short story form. Television was going to kill the movies. The Internet will finish off television. The Internet is predicted to kill off a number of institutions it seems.

The print newspaper is one that gets a lot of attention these days. Eric Alterman recently wrote a good piece on all this in that paper/print publication the New Yorker (of course, you can read it online).

Newspapers once had a lock on news. In the Net age, newspapers were too comfortable and didn't recognize what was happening. They are playing catchup in places online advertising, but that won't replace the loss in revenue from circulation and print ads.

In the 1980's there was talk about "civic journalism” and then the Web brought citizen-bloggers who were their own publishers.

You know it's bad when some new newspaper owners sound scared about the future. “The news business is something worse than horrible,” says Sam Zell, who bought Chicago’s Tribune Company and perhaps is wondering about his purchase.

Jay Rosen (New York University and PressThink) is a one who watches the transforming media. I listened to a podcast from a conversation he had at Brown University.

In his introduction to PressThink, Rosen says:

We need to keep the press from being absorbed into The Media. This means keeping the word press, which is antiquated. But included under its modern umbrella should be all who do the serious work injournalism, regardless of the technology used. The people who will invent the next press in America--and who are doing it now online--continue an experiment at least 250 years old. It has a powerful social history and political legend attached...

At Brown, he talks about the websites that have grown beyond citizen journalism like Instapundit , DailyKos, The Huffington Post, (powered by aggregation) and Talking Points Memo.

Does Rosen think a paper like the New York Times will disappear? No, but what he thinks is valuable is its reputation for trust and reliability and its readership - and not the printing presses, and advertising. He says that the newspaper needs to be unbundled. The paper became a compendium of too many things, and now there are so many websites that can do each of those parts better. You can find better sites for information on sports, science, technology etc. than any major newspaper in print or online. Does that mean that newspapers will focus on news?

I wonder if higher education will need to unbundle in that same way. Will we need to create colleges that specialize and focus on certain majors? Will comprehensive universities fall away? What happens to liberal arts, core curriculums and general education courses? Does it mean that schools will focus on education?


Trackback specific URI for this entry


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
BBCode format allowed
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
To leave a comment you must approve it via e-mail, which will be sent to your address after submission.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.