Typically thoughtful post by Scott Rosenberg on the way the Internet is affecting newspapers. Excerpt:
The newspapers I grew up loving and that I worked for during the first half of my career represent a model that we’ve taken for granted because it’s had such longevity. But there’s nothing god-given or force-of-nature-like to the shape of their product or business; it’s simply an artifact of history that you could roll together a bundle of disparate information — news reports, stock prices, sports scores, display ads, reviews, classified ads, crossword puzzles and so on — sell it to readers, and make money.
Today that bundle has already fallen apart on the content side: there’s simply no reason for newspapers to publish stock prices, for instance; it’s a practice that will simply disappear over the next few years — it’s sheer tree slaughter. On the business side, it is beginning to fall apart, too. It just makes way more sense to do classified advertising online. And it’s cheaper, too, thanks to Craigslist, the little community (I am proud to have been a subscriber to Craig Newmark’s original mailing list on the Well back in 1994 or 1995 or whenever it was) that turned into a big deal.