Features September 2010
Newspaper’s last gasp?
On the future of old media.
One of the most vexed contemporary commercial controversies is the future of the newspaper. It is a technological, and in the United States, a socio-cultural question. It is clear enough that the traditional newspaper—based on the felling of trees and their conversion to newsprint, and the delivery of said newsprint to urban plants where immense high-speed presses create the physical commodity for vast distribution networks that deliver it throughout metropolitan areas and even whole countries—is passing. This mode of newspapering had an astonishing durability, surviving premature death notices with the arrival of the radio, television, and each subsequent phase of electronic media. Newspapers still survive, though unstably, on the old formula and still try to use the internet as a teaser to draw readers to their printed product, grinding out a little longer under the Sisyphean burden of immense presses and hideously expensive...
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