The End of (Most) Newspapers

By Reuters Staff
March 14, 2009

Clay Shirky has a brilliant essay on newspapers and the internet: go read it now. Here’s a taste:

When someone demands to be told how we can replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

I am hopeful, amid the fear; but that doesn’t mean the fear isn’t justified. The wreckage in the newspaper industry is already devastating, and it’s only going to get worse; my base case is a last-man-standing scenario in which the big boys (NYT, WSJ, Guardian, BBC, Reuters) win, and most smaller publications lose. I just hope that the NYT is big enough to survive the storm; its loss would be irreplaceable.

Reprinted from

More From Felix Salmon
Post Felix
The Piketty pessimist
The most expensive lottery ticket in the world
The problems of HFT, Joe Stiglitz edition
Private equity math, Nuveen edition
Five explanations for Greece’s bond yield
Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see