The great Clay Shirky says (albeit much more eloquently) what I’ve been saying for five years – that newspapers are dying because of their economics. Read the entire article if you’re interested in the future of media, because this is the most intelligent analysis I’ve read in years. Clay points out that the newspaper industry knew it was coming, too. They just stuck their heads in the sand until it was too late. Twenty years from now, I believe business schools will teach about the end of the newspaper empires in the same way they used to teach about the end of the horse and buggy manufacturers.
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When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse. This shunting aside of the realists in favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at different times. One of the effects on the newspapers is that many of its most passionate defenders are unable, even now, to plan for a world in which the industry they knew is visibly going away.

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