The Decline of the DailyMy favorite Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist, Greg Johnson, laments the decline of newspapers today:
The demise of newspapers has not been greatly exaggerated. The News Sentinel's sister paper in the E.W. Scripps chain, the Rocky Mountain News, folded its final edition recently. The Detroit Free Press has cut home delivery to three days per week.
Over the six-month period ended in March, average newspaper sales declined more than 7 percent.
The reason is familiar: People are reading online. So the shots in "State of Play" and "The Soloist" of that archaic, if fascinating, process of applying ink to paper seem a premature eulogy of sorts, early requiems for a time when we were able to smudge our fingers as we eased into the day while perusing our favorite rag.
As Johnson points out, technology has played no small part in this decline of the old news rag. It isn't really blogging that has brought about the demise of so many papers, but the fact that so many people are reading the papers online. Over the last couple of years, this space has lamented the end of The Cincinnati Post and The Rocky Mountain News, but the end of newsprint papers is not the problem with the demise of these media organs, but the end of two-paper towns and competative journalism.
Not everyone reads the paper on the internet, and not everyone surfs the blogs, or even knows what that expression means. Eventually, our society will likely get to a place where those ways of obtaining news and opinion are commonplace, but until they do, the loss of variant editorial voices to the reading populace has the potential to create a more serious information gap than exists between those with regular access to the internet and those without that capability.