By Sonia Arrison
03/20/09 4:00 AM PT
The transition that's taking place in the news publishing industry -- from print to online -- is a healthy step in technology-driven evolution, though there will undoubtedly be some short-term pain. The loss of print newspapers is akin to the loss of the horse and buggy. The Internet offers the potential for broader and deeper news reporting.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ceased print publication this week to focus solely on the Web, a transition that frightened some in the publishing business, coming so shortly after the Rocky Mountain News shut down. However, as many in the tech industry are aware, this is simply a form of "creative destruction" that should boost both choice and economic activity in the longer term.
"Creative destruction," a term coined by Joseph Schumpeter in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, means exactly what it says -- the process by which a new technology or structure replaces the old and builds a new infrastructure. This is how progress happens and capitalism moves ahead. For a clear example, think back a century or so, when Henry Ford released his first prototype automobile, relegating the horse and buggy, and the buggy whip industry, to obsolescence.
Most would agree that such creative destruction resulted in a good outcome for society. Yet, not everyone is willing to let such revolutions take place without a fight. Indeed, some politicians have proposed bailing out newspapers, as the federal government has done for failing automakers.
"The media is a vitally important part of America," said Frank Nicastro, who represents Connecticut's 79th assembly district and advocated for a state government bailout of The Bristol Press. Likewise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hinting at federal intervention to help the embattled San Francisco Chronicle.
"We must ensure that our policies enable our news organizations to survive and to engage in the news gathering and analysis that the American people expect," wrote Pelosi in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Maybe people would buy their papers is there was more ORIGINAL content in the damn things! Why should I pay $1 to read UPI articles I can read online for FREE??