Friday, March 13, 2009

Are newspapers doomed?

Paul Beebe writes:

Although the maelstrom has created opportunities for any manner of Internet competitor to cash in on newspapers' once-dominant audience, scholars and media executives warn there are implications to readers and - dare it be said - to American democracy. Mark Willes, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, said newspapers serve a crucial purpose so far unmatched by any other medium. A well-written, well-edited newspaper acts as a government watchdog, drawing information together that readers need, even if they don't always want it. Newspapers entertain, allow for clashing ideas and provide a common base of knowledge that, with luck, make for an informed citizenry, he said.

"If we are going to have effective government, if we're going to have all the things I think are central to having a civilized society and a successful society, [newspapers] must grow. They must stay relevant," said Willes, who now leads Deseret Management Corp., the LDS Church-owned company that oversees the KSL TV and radio, the Deseret News and other businesses.

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