Death of a Paper
As financial ruin looms for the New York Times, we ponder a world without print.
The collapse of daily print journalism will mean many things. For those of us old enough to still care about going out on a Sunday morning for our doorstop edition of The Times, it will mean the end of a certain kind of civilized ritual that has defined most of our adult lives. It will also mean the end of a certain kind of quasi-bohemian urban existence for the thousands of smart middle-class writers, journalists, and public intellectuals who have, until now, lived semi-charmed kinds of lives of the mind. And it will seriously damage the press’s ability to serve as a bulwark of democracy. Internet purists may maintain that the Web will throw up a new pro-am class of citizen journalists to fill the void, but for now, at least, there’s no online substitute for institutions that can marshal years of well-developed sourcing and reporting experience—not to mention the resources to, say, send journalists leapfrogging between Mumbai and Islamabad to decode the complexities of the India-Pakistan conflict.
And another one bites the dust…. I find it really bizarre that many people don’t seem to understand the vital nature of print journalism, not just as the iconic, tangible newspaper, but as the very infrastructure of the entire news industry. All that news content on the web? Yeah, that’s pulled, largely, from newspapers (or at least created by their staffs of writers, researchers, reporters, etc.). If and when the industry does collapse, which sadly seems to be where this is going, we’re going to need to find some way to maintain that infrastructure and modify it to work within the new Internet-only model. Interesting times for journalists everywhere (and this one is thanking her lucky stars she didn’t go into news media after college, as originally planned).
the other sad part that he briefly mentions in the article is the loss off all that great interactive talent, and the potential to put it to good use. Newspapers by-and-large have complely missed the boat when it comes to running/designing websites. The Times has made fantastic strides in recent years, setting the standard for everyone else – it’d be a shame to see that go the way of the Austin American-Statesman or some other wretched-rag.