Walter Pincus and the Life of the Newspaper

So last week I went on saw a speaker here at Middlebury, Walter Pincus. Who was discussing newspapers and how they will continue to survive in the future despite the increase in web news options. I thought it was a very interesting point of view and related to our discussion of media very much.
Pincus talked about the ways in which the newspaper should and will be changing. He argues that the most important characteristic of the newspaper is that it be a competitive business. That the newspaper contains what the reader wants and not what the editors want. He talked about keeping the newspaper shorter, increasing advertisements, and making the content geared more towards what the reader is looking for. He says that because editors will be able to make these adjustments, and largely because advertisers still feel safer investing in print ads instead of online ads that the newspapers will survive.
I thought this was very interesting but it made me think about the social/cultural effects that this might have and the change in quality of the newspaper that this shift may have. It seems to me that a shorter, more ad heavy, and dumbed down version of the newspaper, while maybe a little more commercially successful is not really what I want being published. To me this seems like a dumbing down of our society and it makes me wonder what other sacrifices are being made as a result of new media expansion.


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