The Internet Killed the Newspaper

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As if Windows Contacts killed the Rolodex. It’s just so much more complicated than that.

Eric Alterman‘s piece in the New Yorker details the demise of the American newspaper:

Most managers in the industry have reacted to the collapse of their business model with a spiral of budget cuts, bureau closings, buyouts, layoffs, and reductions in page size and column inches. Since 1990, a quarter of all American newspaper jobs have disappeared. The columnist Molly Ivins complained, shortly before her death, that the newspaper companies’ solution to their problem was to make “our product smaller and less helpful and less interesting.” That may help explain why the dwindling number of Americans who buy and read a daily paper are spending less time with it; the average is down to less than fifteen hours a month. Only nineteen per cent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four claim even to look at a daily newspaper. The average age of the American newspaper reader is fifty-five and rising.

And how many of those readers still defend their purchases of Betamax?

Anyway, the article goes on to detail the success of Huffington Post, which just surpassed Drudge Report in traffic:

Surrounding the news articles are the highly opinionated posts of an apparently endless army of both celebrity (Nora Ephron, Larry David) and non-celebrity bloggers – more than eighteen hundred so far. The bloggers are not paid.

According to the article, Huffington Post generates $11 million each year and has 46 full-time employees. And its self-proclaimed to be the model of the news business of the future.

Sam Zell, take note: the reason your business loses money is because – duh – you pay too many people.

We’d also like to note that sharecropping was cruel and exploitive but at least they were given homes to live in. Party like its 1899!