1.12.2009

Death By a Thousand Paper Cuts - At Once

For anyone who thinks about journalism, here's a timely and thought-provoking piece from The Atlantic (ht/OOTM) on the crisis faced by traditional newspapers in the current environment - where old line mainstays are severely buffeted by both economic and technological forces.

The author notes that most have presumed a continued shift away from traditional media arrangements, but wonders, provocatively:

But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May?

It's a good read - posing serious questions and laying out several prospective answers.   The piece also asserts that bloggers and online citizen journalists are inadequate substitutes to the heft and capacity of traditional papers like the New York Times.  Especially when it comes to challenging and investigating the federal government.  

If major newspaper players die off suddenly in a mass extinction as the author suggests, I'd be inclined to agree - replacement hybrid institutions have not yet fully developed online.