Tag Archives: newspapers

What’s really happening with newspapers

Well, I am a reporter, so like everyone else, I’m following the shrinkage of newspapers with great interest. This essay by Clay Shirky is making the rounds, and says it all (almost):

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable

A few quotes that resonate:

  • “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model.
  • Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as craigslist did, as Wikipedia did, as octavo volumes did.
  • Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.
  • When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’

As a long-time Internet geek who’s also a long-time reporter, I found this essay reassured me about journalism in ways most ‘Net fanatics haven’t been able to (As in, no, citizen journalism is not going to save us).