Michael Kinsley is the former op-ed editor at the LA Times. He therefore writes with some authority on the future of newspapers. He paints a grim picture, a position I happily share:
It seems hopeless. How can the newspaper industry survive the Internet? On the one hand, newspapers are expected to supply their content free on the Web. On the other hand, their most profitable advertising – classifieds – is being lost to sites like Craigslist. And display advertising is close behind. Meanwhile, there is the blog terror: people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics riffing in their underwear, rather than professional journalists with standards and passports.
He doesn’t provide any answers, mainly because they aren’t any quick solutions. Some of his conclusions are glib, however. He still seems to believe that an article or investigation in the mainstream media should be trusted simply because it appears in a major news organ. Corporate news propaganda is clearly a concept he is yet to learn.
But at least the debate is moving along (and my next book, on the Western media, will tackle some of these issues.)