Is the internet destroying journalism? In a piece at Salon, writer Andrew Leonard argues that it is — primarily because “the economics of news gathering in the Internet age suck,” as he puts it. And it’s easy to see why someone would be drawn to that point of view, given the rapid decline of the print newspaper business and the waves of layoffs and closures that have affected that industry. But what Leonard is actually complaining about is the failure of a specific business model for funding journalism, not the decline of journalism itself.
Obviously, those two things are fairly closely related: Newspapers have represented the front lines of journalism for a generation or more, with deep benches of talent — including foreign correspondents in dozens of countries around the world, and special investigative-reporting teams. And what has funded all of that journalism has been print-advertising revenue, which has been
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