Over the past couple of days I’ve been reading a lot about the death of U.S. newspapers. Some analysts say that print is dead and we all should just move along to the Internet. Others say otherwise, like this guy:
We live under the happy illusion that we can transfer news-gathering to the Internet. News-gathering will continue to exist, as it does on this Web site and sites such as ProPublica and Slate, but these traditions now have to contend with a new, widespread and ideologically driven partisanship that dominates the dissemination of views and information, from Fox News to blogger screeds. The majority of bloggers and Internet addicts, like the endless rows of talking heads on television, do not report. They are largely parasites who cling to traditional news outlets. They can produce stinging and insightful commentary, which has happily seen the monopoly on opinion pieces by large papers shattered, but they rarely pick up the phone, much less go out and find a story. Nearly all reporting — I would guess at least 80 percent — is done by newspapers and the wire services. Take that away and we have a huge black hole.
I even read where one guy thinks we should make universities pass along the costs of newspapers to their students so they’re forced to read it. Well, that may be one way to raise money for ailing newspapers, but a piss poor way of pleasing your customers. As an IUPUI student I subsidize The Indianapolis Star, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and USA today. Too bad I’m never on campus early enough in the day to actually pick up one and read it. Heck, I’m not even on campus most days of the week to pick one up. So that’s a retarded idea.
Some other arguments include moving all newspapers to the Internet. To that, I say, well, maybe you should. You already spend millions on printing the things and my frugal self never pays a dime for newspapers. Heck, I even write for one. I just get it all online. The folks that don’t have net access probably don’t have a newspaper subscription, either.
As usual, I’m here with an idea: shut down all the unprofitable print newspapers and turn it all to the Internet. Keep your reporters and staff and generate revenue via web ads like you already do and cut the frickin’ printer. It’s draining you people ragged.