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Will The Last Newspaper Be Printed In 2043?

» Introduction
In “The Vanishing Newspaper” (2004), Philip Meyer, predicts that in 2043, someone will be receiving the final copy of the final newspaper. It will then be done, over. Those types of specific predictions are a bit silly, but this one does make a point.
» Step 1
In “The Vanishing Newspaper” (2004), Philip Meyer, predicts that in 2043, someone will be receiving the final copy of the final newspaper. It will then be done, over. Those types of specific predictions are a bit silly, but this one does make a point. If the newspaper industry were a boxer, it would be crawling up the ropes after being knocked down for the third or forth time. Let’s say Meyer is right if so, in 2043, the newspaper will have had its run. What happens then? Luckily, it has its own museum now. Washington D.C. houses the Newseum. Strange word.

As newspapers fail, most agree that the Internet is the culprit. Readers can find their news online for free at a number of different sites. The classifieds, which brought in a major junk of change, are now owned by Craigslist. It’s said those under thirty don’t revel in the feeling of opening the newspaper and sitting down with their morning coffee, because they’re online. Not only is the information readily available other places, the experience is no longer appreciated.

This is all true, but I think most people are overlooking the huge toll that having newspapers shift from family-owned businesses to chain-owned public companies took on much of the industry. Wall Street redefined the newspaper industry. It became strictly about making a profit, as opposed to walking that fine line between making money and telling the news.

The shift has been seismic. Twenty years ago newspaper circulations was estimated to be at about 63 million. It’s dropped over 10 million since then. And it seems as though we hear (or perhaps read) about the demise, or near demise, of another city newspaper on an almost daily basis.

Some are saying it’s for the best, that the newspaper as we know it is holding reporters back from doing their best job and that journalism’s best days are still ahead of us. One can only hope so. More and more papers are cutting their staffs and relying on the wires for their true news stories. That is a red flag! I agree that we can find the basic news of the day online, but the dilemma of true investigative journalism remains; who will pay investigative reporters to do the kind of reporting that broke national stories such as Watergate, and as important, those reporters around the country who broke local and regional stories of fraud can corruption on a regional and local basis? That’s what spooks me. Perhaps the Internet will pick up that slack, perhaps a model will be devised where it will be even more effective in its ability to report local news and keep an eye on the hen house (so to speak). If not, we’re in trouble folks.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2009

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