Peggy Drexler, a psychology professor from Cornell University has written
As newspaper companies adapt to the realities of consumers who can travel the world on their iPhone, I am afraid they are going to become a shell of their original purpose; a brand name for a collection of niche publications, free tabloids and assorted Web sites. The center, that gravitational force that holds the parts of a community in its orbit, will be gone.
She’s clearly a keen observer (or at least a shaply intuitive one) of the newspaper business, because that is precisely the shape that many see our business acquiring. The American Press Institutes latest
Drexler acknowledges that newspapers, quite sensibly, are investing in and moving onto the net — a free-wheeling space that so far has not proved hospitable to ad-supported or subscription-based local journalism. But this means their print counterparts will increasingly be starved of resources, talent and ultimately readers. Neither these new newspaper lites nor their web versions seem capable of supporting the same depth and volume of original journalism as print. A central role will go unfilled:
Drexler quotes Canada’s own Marshall McLuhan, noting that "People don’t read newspapers, they slip into them like a warm bath." Her thoughtful lament is a warning that technology and time has pulled the plug.
Don’t satisfy yourself with my precis – go