I’ve been holding back on this for a long time, and I write enough about the Web development team at nytimes.com enough to be held to this as well, but really, I’m incredibly tired of reading media and technology bloggers debate the future of news as if the only existing newspaper in the world is The New York Times or other papers of its size, scope, or readership.
So please, when you talk about “newspapers” or “the future of news” or anything of the sort, please stop thinking about what will replace The New York Times. The answers to that are obvious, and we see them now at Politico and HuffPo and niche blogs and even Twitter from time to time.
The far, far more interesting question, from my point of view, is what will replace all those other, smaller, newspapers on that long list, especially the ones in towns without blankets of TV coverage, or public radio, or an existing blog community.
The massive changes in the way we get informed that everyone can easily see the negative (for newspapers) evidence of in the form of major metro layoffs and cratering circulation numbers certainly are taking longer to fully filter down to smaller newspapers in smaller towns, but they are certainly filtering down.
So, if it’s journalism that you’re interested in saving, please don’t worry about solving the problem of the NYT. Worry about solving the problem of keeping communities informed about themselves as what used to be the easiest way to do so becomes economically unwise.
As the printing press fades from memory, the question isn’t going to be, how do you feel about there being no New York Times, it’s going to be something like: How do you feel about how much you know about your world?
My world happens to be both bigger and smaller than all the news that’s fit to publish.