Please don’t shoot the messengers

Just in time for the third-quarter earnings reports and more gloom about the economy comes this projection about the financial state of American newspapers: $7.5 billion in losses for this year alone:

“The newspaper industry’s unwillingness or inability to diversify its revenue base since the start of this century has hitched it to the fates of the retailers, car dealers, real estate brokers and employers who are struggling to keep their heads above water in the worst business conditions since the Depression.

The longer-term forecast isn’t much better:

“We are standing at the brink of what will be two years of carnage for western media. Nobody in my business has got a grip of it yet. . . . We are at the meeting point now of a systematic down turn and a cyclical collapse.”

Is there a silver lining for the profession? A young journalist says there can be:

“Imagine a future in which the only thing holding back news organizations was our imaginations. This economic crisis could not come at a worst time for newspapers, and, frankly, no one really knows how bad it is going to get. I do know, however, that in good times and bad, people want to be informed.

“Maybe, just maybe, this crisis will force us to reinvent journalism. Maybe it will spark an unprecedented wave of innovation as we face the realities of a new world for journalism.

“Could it be the turn of the tide?”

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