Over the last couple of weeks we have seen what we all knew was coming: lots of newspapers making the final decision to cease publication. There are lots of reasons for this, including things like content that doesn’t appeal to readers, the convenience of the internet, investigative journalism that has been made subservient of the desires of marketing and sales departments, and more.
My personal feeling is that the most important reason is simply that for the most part words printed on cheap paper with cheap ink is an archaic method of getting information to the masses. It is slow, it is expensive, and frankly, it’s messy and wasteful.
I think newspapers and even the television and magazine industries need to look at themselves as current day analogs to Vaudeville shows. Once a new method for getting their content to the masses became popular, the producers had to either adapt, retire, or go bankrupt. Many of the big names in Vaudeville became big names in the early days of cinema, radio, and television. That can still happen for today’s news media, but only once they stop fighting the change and learn to adapt themselves to the times.