The decline of newspapers may be ugly

The world is much better with strong journalists.  Strong journalists keep everyone honest.  It’s been that way since our country was founded.

While I love consuming news online — I fear that the conversion will leave us in a very bad place.  I cringe when I hear about traditional newspapers cutting costs by slashing their editorial staff.  It’s the physical distribution that’s the problem — and overblown cost structures.  We do not have too many professional journalists in the country…  In fact, we have too few…

That’s why I read with trepedition today’s announcement by The New York Times that they have sold for the first time a banner ad on the front page of their paper.  CBS bought a 2 1/2 inch banner along the bottom of page one.

Is that so bad?  Not by itself, no.  But, it’s one of many steps that have and will be taken to shore up the financials of “old-style” jounralists.  What really needs to happen is for them to take a bold step into the new world — but it’s painful.  What’s next?  Will editorial policy be weakened to appease advertisers?  Will advertisements start showing up in the middle of article text?  Will jounralists be allowed a free hand to be critical?  One step at a time…

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