Last updated: January 26, 2009 - 10:08pm
[Commentary] In journalism's new Internet-dominated landscape, in which attitude and attack are often valued more than precision and truth, handiwork is seen as taking too long and costing too much. Newspapers have been and remain by far the largest source of news coverage and analysis in any city or town. Without the local paper, the TV and radio stations would be in difficult shape, despite the good work they often do. The most popular websites—Yahoo, the Drudge Report, MSNBC.com, CNN.com, the Huffington Post, you name it—also rely heavily on the work of newspapers, more often than not appropriating and linking to their stories without providing a penny in payment. Newspaper penetration—the number of households looking at a paper—now amounts to less than 18 percent of the population, compared with 33 percent back in 1946. As the seeming death spiral accelerates, a sense of desperation has led some to flashy redesigns aimed at attracting younger consumers. But little is working, and the diehard readers are left with a sense of getting less.
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