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{Empty title} | The Nation

This article makes an attempt to distinguish between newspapers and journalism but ultimately fails at that. Many of the solutions offered are designed to prop up paper distribution. None of them will matter. Newspapers will die. It's inevitable. Oh sure, perhaps a few will survive here and there as boutique operations, but they won't be relevant.

Beyond that, the main problem with the prescription offered here is that it is a misguided attempt to maintain industrial age journalism in this new post-industrial age we're entering. As has been observed elsewhere, the pre-industrial style of many small players engaging in many-to-many conversations and transactions, as with the pamphleteers of old and with business in general, was largely displaced by industrial-sized operations in the 20th century. You could characterize these as one size fits all, one-to-many relationships, and we all became consumers of corporate products. As with automobiles and soft drinks, so it was with newspapers and broadcast journalism. It was in this environment that the concept of "objective journalism" became necessary, sometimes derided as the view from nowhere.

In many ways, the advent of the internet and the information revolution in general is making the world look like our pre-industrial past as much as it is remaking society into something new. This will be true for journalism too. News will be generated and distributed by interested parties, just like it used to be. Look to the political parties, associated political groups, and issue advocacy groups to begin investing in journalism to get their views out. As with FoxNews/MSNBC, citizens will choose the sources they trust, even knowing that the sources have a point of view. Judging by middle-of-the-road CNN's third place ratings, we actually prefer it this way. The monopoly newspaper is artificial, stilted, and really a dull read.

It is industrialized journalism that is at the heart of the many real problems with journalism that the article describes. While the transition to post-industrial journalism will be chaotic, that is no reason to keep 20th century journalism going. It's over.