Why Newspapers Are Still Important

There's been a lot of talk in recent years about how newspapers may be dying, and whether, in an age of declining circulation and ad revenues, it's even possible to save them. But there's been less discussion of what will be lost if newspapers do go the way of the dinosaurs. Why are newspapers still important? And what will be lost if they disappear? Quite a lot, as you'll see in the articles featured here.

Five Things That Are Lost When Newspapers Close

A stack of newspapers, information
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This is a tough time for print journalism. For a variety of reasons, newspapers nationwide are either slashing budgets and staff, going bankrupt or even closing down entirely. The problem is this: There are many things newspapers do that simply can't be replaced. Papers are a unique medium in the news business and can't be easily replicated by TV, radio or online news operations.

If Newspapers Die, What Will Happen to the News Itself?

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 05: Suzanne Tobey of Washington, DC, takes a photo at the Newseum of the front page of a newspaper showing Sen. Barack Obama as the winner of the presidential election on Nov. 5, 2008 in Washington, DC. Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Most original reporting - the old-school, shoe leather kind of work that involves getting out from behind a computer and hitting the streets to interview real people - is done by newspaper reporters. Not bloggers. Not TV anchors. Newspaper reporters.

Most News Still Comes From Newspapers, Study Finds

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The headline coming out of a study making waves in journalism circles is that most news still comes from traditional media, primarily newspapers. Blogs and social media outlets examined provided little if any original reporting, the study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found.

What Happens to Coverage of Average Folks If Newspapers Die?

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There’s something else that will be lost if newspapers die: Reporters who have a certain solidarity with the common man or woman because they are the common man or woman.

Newspaper Layoffs Take Their Toll on Local Investigative Reporting

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According to a new report by the Federal Communications Commission, the layoffs that gutted newsrooms in recent years have resulted in "stories not written, scandals not exposed, government waste not discovered, health dangers not identified in time, local elections involving candidates about whom we know little." The report added: "The independent watchdog function that the Founding Fathers envisioned for journalism - going so far as to call it crucial to a healthy democracy - is in some cases at risk."

Newspapers May Not be Cool, But They Still Make Money

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Newspapers are going to be around for awhile. Maybe not forever, but for a good long while. That's because even with the recession, more than 90 percent of the newspaper industry's $45 billion in sales in 2008 came from print, not online news. Online advertising accounted for less than 10 percent of revenue in the same period.

What Happens if Newspapers are Undervalued Into Oblivion?

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If we keep valuing companies that create little or no content over the content creators, what will happen when the content creators are undervalued into extinction? Let me be clear: What we're really talking about here by and large are newspapers, ones substantial enough to generate original content. Yes newspapers, scorned by the prophets of the digital age as "legacy" media, which is another way of saying outdated.