But none of the newspaper industry's woes necessarily translate into the utopian fantasy of a world where blogs rule supreme and where editors and anchormen are hunted like Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes" (Dan Rather: "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty blogger!"). And it's not all bad news, either. In Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, The Examiner newspapers are challenging the assumption that dead-tree news is, uh, dead.
People forget that less than a decade ago, everyone was convinced that the Web was going to replace television. Hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into Web TV networks like Pseudo.com on the premise that cable TV was the 8 track tape of the 1990s. The reality was something quite different. For some bizarre reason, people prefer to watch "Star Trek" reruns while splayed out on the couch or in bed - not sitting upright at their desk, staring at the same computer where they spent the entire day working. Television's not going anywhere, but it is changing rapidly as it becomes more Web-like in its interactivity and the like.
Meanwhile, the blogosphere - the fancy word for the vast digital arena where everyone from Olsen Twin stalkers to investigative journalists share their views and observations - is coalescing. Big media outlets are starting blogs and buying up the best bloggers. Independent bloggers are joining forces to achieve economies of scale for advertising and editorial direction. Just this week, some of the best bloggers created a small consortium called Pajamas Media. It's not inconceivable that consolidation will continue to the point where bloggers become new online newspapers. In South Korea there's already an online daily staffed mostly by 30,000 volunteer "citizen journalists" with a few professional editors handling the copy and fact-checking.
This may sound like a brave new world, but the idea of writers banding together to put out a joint publication is hardly new. We used to call them "magazines." If history is any guide, the Internet won't kill the traditional media, it will be absorbed by it.