Thursday, October 1, 2009

But What Will Happen to the Newsies? The Death of American Newspapers

Recently, I have read numerous articles and editorials on the fate of American newspapers. The most recent issue of Vanity Fair explores the challenges facing the Washington Post’s survival (see link to article below). The paper is faring better then others economically, but only because its owners made the wise decision to acquire Kaplan years ago. So in fact, the paper is not surviving because of any profits from the newspaper, but only because of its resident cash cow, Kaplan.
Newsweek’s Daniel Lyons recently issued a scathing attack on American newspapers in general. His article was entitled, “Don’t Bail Out Newspapers- Let Them Die and Get Out of the Way.” (Read his article here) The editorial stemmed from calls for a newspaper bail-out by owners and President Obama’s potential agreement to issue aid to insure the survival of American newspapers. For Lyons, print newspapers are passé, not only for their hard copy format, but because of their lame content. He argues that online news outlets deliver the news more efficiently while offering much higher quality content. Lyons acknowledges that some call for the survival of newspapers because of its ties to democracy. Indeed, newspapers have long been an outlet for political debate and cultural literacy in our country. However, most people my age now get their news from the Daily Show and the Colbert Report or by reading news online. As technology evolves exponentially, and we can now read the newspaper on our iphones or watch it on our ipods or computers, should we let newspapers die out? Or are they worth saving? Even it requires a government bail-out? Are newspapers an essential part of our history?

October 2009: Michael Wolff on iThe Washington Post/i Business:

[Image via Farm1]

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