Are Newspapers Even Fit to Print Anymore?

Eric Alterman has an article, Out of Print, in the March 31 issue of the New Yorker exploring the decline of newspapers in the United States. He begins by pointing out the typical financial reasons that are often highlighted, such as the faster news cycle inspired by the internet and loss of classifieds revenue to services such as Craigslist.

Beyond that, though, he highlights real deficiencies in the way newspapers have reported over the past decade and more, culminating in their unquestioning credulity in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. Much of his time is spent exploring the presence that news and political blogs have carved for themselves online (Huffington Post, not a favorite of mine, receives the most attention), engaging the myth of the liberal media and illustrating how liberal groups are using web-based communication to sidestep the bias of traditional media sources.

It’s a valuable read, presenting a useful overview of the current media landscape. It illustrates the areas where newspapers have stumbled thanks to larger forces and also highlights the spots where they’ve rotted away of their own volition.