The rebirth of news

The rebirth of news
The race is crowded, but San Francisco stands a fair chance of becoming the first major American city without a daily newspaper. The San Francisco Chronicle, founded in 1865, is trimming its already pared-down staff in an attempt to avoid closure. And if it does disappear? “People under 30 won’t even notice,” says Gavin Newsom, the city’s mayor.
Most industries are suffering at present, but few are doing as badly as the news business. Things are worst in America, where many papers used to enjoy comfortable local monopolies, but in Britain around 70 local papers have shut down since the beginning of 2008. Among the survivors, advertising is dwindling, editorial is thinning and journalists are being laid off. The crisis is no different in Australia. Both News Ltd and Fairfax, the countries duopolistic newspaper publishers are bleeding readers and revenue at an unsustainable rate. Essentially, the impact of the Internet, exacerbated by the advertising slump, is killing the daily newspaper.
Does that matter? Technological change has destroyed all sorts of once-popular products, from the handloom to the Walkman, and the world has mostly been better for it. But news is not just a product: the press is the fourth estate, a pillar of the polity. Journalists investigate and criticise governments, thus helping voters decide whether to keep them or sack them. Autocracies can function perfectly well without news, but democracies cannot. Will the death of the daily newspaper—the main source of information for most educated people for at least the past century, the scourge of corrupt politicians, the conscience of nations—damage democracy?
The Economist magazine sees a new kind of news to fill the void …
http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13649304&subjectID=348963&fsrc=nwl

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The race is crowded, but San Francisco stands a fair chance of becoming the first major American city without a daily newspaper. The San Francisco Chronicle, founded in 1865, is trimming its already pared-down staff in an attempt to avoid closure. And if it does disappear? “People under 30 won’t even notice,” says Gavin Newsom, the city’s mayor.

Most industries are suffering at present, but few are doing as badly as the news business. Things are worst in America, where many papers used to enjoy comfortable local monopolies, but in Britain around 70 local papers have shut down since the beginning of 2008. Among the survivors, advertising is dwindling, editorial is thinning and journalists are being laid off. The crisis is no different in Australia. Both News Ltd and Fairfax, the country’s duopolistic newspaper publishers are bleeding readers and revenue at an unsustainable rate. Essentially, the impact of the Internet, exacerbated by the advertising slump, is killing the daily newspaper.

Does that matter? Technological change has destroyed all sorts of once-popular products, from the handloom to the Walkman, and the world has mostly been better for it. But news is not just a product: the press is the fourth estate, a pillar of the polity. Journalists investigate and criticise governments, thus helping voters decide whether to keep them or sack them. Autocracies can function perfectly well without news, but democracies cannot. Will the death of the daily newspaper—the main source of information for most educated people for at least the past century, the scourge of corrupt politicians, the conscience of nations—damage democracy?

‘The Economist’ magazine sees a new kind of news to fill the void …

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