Why It’s OK for Newspapers to Die

by on March 20, 2009 · 20 comments

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ceased print publication this week to focus solely on the Web, a transition that frightened some in the publishing business, coming so shortly after the Rocky Mountain News shut down. However, as many in the tech industry are aware, this is simply a form of “creative destruction” that should boost both choice and economic activity in the longer term.

“Creative destruction,” a term coined by Joseph Schumpeter in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, means exactly what it says — the process by which a new technology or structure replaces the old and builds a new infrastructure. This is how progress happens and capitalism moves ahead. For a clear example, think back a century or so, when Henry Ford released his first prototype automobile, relegating the horse and buggy, and the buggy whip industry, to obsolescence.

Most would agree that such creative destruction resulted in a good outcome for society. Yet, not everyone is willing to let such revolutions take place without a fight. Indeed, some politicians have proposed bailing out newspapers, as the federal government has done for failing automakers.

“The media is a vitally important part of America,” said Frank Nicastro, who represents Connecticut’s 79th assembly district and advocated for a state government bailout of The Bristol Press. Likewise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hinting at federal intervention to help the embattled San Francisco Chronicle.

Read more here.

  • http://www.othersideboardsports.com/kiteboarding.html boarding

    This is not at all surprising for me to hear, as the presence of media on the internet has clear left a great impact in our lives!

  • http://fizzingbanana.wordpress.com/ peaceelrring

    A compelling subject.
    There is a great post about it I found here:
    http://allaboutcities.ca/cities-losing-their-ne

  • MikeRT

    Ironically, the only serious journalist that comes to mind on issues related to being a watchdog on the legal system's abuse of the public is a blogger (Radley Balko). He's done more to expose corruption than the New York Times and most of the big outlets put together.

  • http://sandrasoleil.com/ sandra soleil

    Death can be painful, especially a slow death. I cling to the hope of keeping the patient alive and love to hear that old familiar footstep plopping on my driveway every Sunday.
    Newspapers are more than words; they are the fabric on which our society is painted.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/ eee_eff

    I don't believe they will die. The for-profit newspaper will die as a business model. Communities though do get benefits from newspapers, such as exposing corruption, providing a community forum, and providing a local institution with a moral voice (=high moral connectivity)

    Those combination of elements caused me to predict that newspapers would be re-imagined as not for profits, which is exactly what has in fact started to happen:

    http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/r
    http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/a

  • marko

    I have to disagree. The newspaper organization is the news gathering engine that drives all news, bloggers and TV included. Without them there is no news gathering. True creative destruction leads to better more efficient ways of doing things but in this case the loss of the 50 cent newspaper in lieu of a $300 I phone means a major portion of society will not have access to the media outlets. Not to metion the impermanance of the net based news outlets. Maybe the newspaper as industry dies, but regional news gathering organizations must survive – maybe an AP for the net, if we are to continue getting the news.

  • marko

    I have to disagree. The newspaper organization is the news gathering engine that drives all news, bloggers and TV included. Without them there is no news gathering. True creative destruction leads to better more efficient ways of doing things but in this case the loss of the 50 cent newspaper in lieu of a $300 I phone means a major portion of society will not have access to the media outlets. Not to metion the impermanance of the net based news outlets. Maybe the newspaper as industry dies, but regional news gathering organizations must survive – maybe an AP for the net, if we are to continue getting the news.

  • marko

    I have to disagree. The newspaper organization is the news gathering engine that drives all news, bloggers and TV included. Without them there is no news gathering. True creative destruction leads to better more efficient ways of doing things but in this case the loss of the 50 cent newspaper in lieu of a $300 I phone means a major portion of society will not have access to the media outlets. Not to metion the impermanance of the net based news outlets. Maybe the newspaper as industry dies, but regional news gathering organizations must survive – maybe an AP for the net, if we are to continue getting the news.

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