Over the past few years, the phrase “the End of Journalism” has been widely circulated by pundits, doomsayers, and crotchety journalists alike. Critics have pointed to the closing of local newspapers and the rise of the blogosphere as harbingers of the Four Horsemen. According to a site called NewspaperDeathWatch.com, 14 newspapers, including the Cincinnati Post, the Albuquerque Tribune, and the San Juan Star, have closed since 2007.
In 2009, Michael Hirschorn got heat for his article “End Times” in The Atlantic, which suggested that the New York Times could easily go out of business within six months. In his words, “The paper’s future doesn’t look good.”
Still today, the debate rages on: Do newspapers have a future? Will the ethical backbone of reporting be lost in a jumble of Tweets, Tumblrs, and celebrity gossip? Will Perez Hilton pick the next presidential candidate? Will the inexperienced masses destroy journalism forever?
Despite these apocalyptic pronouncements, I’m skeptical that the end is really all that near. Yes, journalism will have to change—but the future may not be so bleak.
In this week’s lead, Ian Erickson-Kery looks at three online publications that are changing the nature of reading online. Companies like Triple Canopy, Badlands Unlimited, and DIS have begun to conceive of and use the Internet as a medium that doesn’t simply mimic print but innovates new reading experiences. Their approach gives me hope that online publications might just develop into an entirely separate entity—and, in so doing, could put print’s collective death knell on hold, at least for now (she says, in a print magazine).