Newspapers See Writing On the Wall –Cagle

According to American Journalism Review (AJR), the population of newsrooms decreased by 15 percent in 2008. That’s three times the high water mark since AJR has estimated the workforce during the last 30 years.

The Internet is burning the newspaper, and the economy is providing the match. General interest titles like USA Today are doomed to be laid to rest, and quite soon. The New York Times, the yardstick of U.S. journalism, recently enjoyed a much-needed major cash infusion from a new investor. But where is the savior for the Post-Intelligencer?

Conventional thinking dictates that small, local newspapers will continue to flourish because they will address a niche that the Internet ignores: local news. For a while, I believed this to be true. Now, I see newspapers crumbling in succession, the process expedited by the economy. Within five to seven years, barring a major game turner, the U.S. paper will be pushed to the brink of extinction. It won’t go away completely, but its impact on American society will be severely marginalized.

The clock is ticking. Sad though it may be for those of us who are currently or previously members of the press, it’s just another reminder that change is a constant in our lives.

TREASURED PAPERS: The butchering of Barack Obama’s presidential oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts caused a bit of a flap and prompted Roberts to return the next day to get it right. It was a minor blip on an otherwise historic moment in the country’s history.

It is a safe bet that history will not remember the gaffe because of the dignity that is afforded such an event as the inauguration—particularly of the nation’s first black president. One can already imagine Obama’s profile on a U.S. coin some day, or on a postage stamp (if both items still exist in 50 years). Whether Obama actually accomplishes anything during his presidency will do little to tarnish what is already a watershed event in American history.

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