As newspapers are endangered, please tell us: The values at risk? The hopes for transformation?

his week, we had the wonderful opportunity to hear from six seasoned journalists and media experts – Susan Ager, Bill Mitchell, Aly Colon, Bill Tammeus, Neal Rubin, and Charles Eisendrath – about their views of the values at stake in the demise of print newspapers.
    What do you say?
    The first line of my Monday post — “Stop the Presses” — alarmed Linda Morford, who said, “I really LIKE to read the paper, specifically the Toledo Blade, and the Monroe Evening News which are delivered to my mailbox everyday! The details of the local news are just not available on the internet.”
    “In Detroit,” says Mary Biedron, “the newspaper has provided an alternative community forum for voices that wouldn’t be heard in the normal political process. A lot of sunshine has been cast by newspapers on activities and issues that would otherwise have been hidden.”
    “The ongoing demise of newspapers,” says drjay1941, “both accompanies and may be part of the cause of the ‘dumbing down’ of the electorate. Fewer sources of accurate information [means] greater the chances for mis-information and bad decisions. I tend to see the decline in newspapers as of a piece with the decline of reading in general, and the exponential growth of entertainment by nearly any means possible.”
    Perhaps we need a bailout for newspapers, suggests don g. fowler. I bet this would be less expensive than the bailout of Wall Street and the Detroit Big Three! “The Constitution does not call for banks,” don says, “but does call for a free press.”
    Yes, print newspapers represent important values – values that are jeopardized by their loss. Yet, echoing Bill Mitchell’s thoughts from yesterday, can something good be created in the process of transformation?
    What do you think?

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