Monday, March 16, 2009

"The Unthinkable"

Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor at NYU, has a frank and helpful post on the newspaper industry -- specifically how the "revolution" that is/was the Internet contributed to the industry's decline. As Sully puts it, Shirky's take is "a brutal obituary."

Anyone who cares about newspapers will want to read the entire post.

But, here's one important quote:

Print media does much of society’s heavy journalistic lifting, from flooding the zone — covering every angle of a huge story — to the daily grind of attending the City Council meeting, just in case. This coverage creates benefits even for people who aren’t newspaper readers, because the work of print journalists is used by everyone from politicians to District Attorneys to talk radio hosts to bloggers. The newspaper people often note that newspapers benefit society as a whole. This is true, but irrelevant to the problem at hand; “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model. So who covers all that news if some significant fraction of the currently employed newspaper people lose their jobs?

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