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A Short Good-bye to Print Newspapers

Today the Christian Science Monitor, a venerable not-for-profit newspaper, announced that it would give up its daily print newspaper to become online-only. This week as well the New York Times announced an earnings decline of more than fifty percent, the Newark Star-Ledger let it be known that it will cut forty percent of its staff, and the Los Angeles Times is laying off another 75 members of its newsroom, bringing its editorial staff to about half of what it was at its peak. And circulation at some of this country’s largest newspapers fell more than ten percent in the last six months: The Houston Chronicle, Boston Globe, Orange County Register and Philadelphia Inquirer, among others. Certainly the economic crisis will further cut into advertising and readers who no longer have the money to spend on a subscription.

It is quite clear that the print newspaper is on its way to extinction. The urgent questions looming for the citizenry of this country and others: Where will we be able to get reliable news if there is not enough revenue to staff news bureaus, both domestically and abroad? Will online readers increasingly be drawn to narrowcast publications that largely confirm their political views or only satisfy specific interests? What will be the equivalent of a broadsheet newspaper front page, where a reader finds out more than he or she might have been looking for by the placement of articles next to each other? And who or what, other than the government, will be able to set the social agenda? Are we moving all too quickly towards a top-down facsimile of a democracy?

At this rate, the presidential elections four years from now may depend even more heavily on Jon Stewart for intelligent commentary.

One Comment

  1. RYErnest wrote:

    Nice post u have here :D Added to my RSS reader

    Monday, December 1, 2008 at 4:37 am | Permalink

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