Sunday, December 7, 2008

Read all about it: newspapers are done for

Andrew Sullivan writes:

The big three car makers are now the focus of attention in the US. The good news is that their incompetence and fecklessness are not being overlooked. The odds of their being saved seem mercifully lower now than before, especially as other industries, facing the same brutal environment, are not sure why they shouldn’t be bailed out as well.

Take the newspaper industry. It has been faltering badly under the pressure of new media for a few years. For much of the past decade, circulation for all papers has been declining at about 2% a year. The last year has been a test case of sorts. Newspapers had the story of a lifetime: an election campaign of historic interest, suspense, drama and personality. From Hil-lary to Barack, from John Edwards’s love child to Sarah Palin’s Down’s syndrome child, from John McCain’s wild lunges for relevance to the first black president, it was the kind of year in which circulation should have boomed. If you live for a story, this year was an embarrassment of riches.

And yet the decline didn’t just continue. It accelerated.


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