There's a whole lot of energy being wasted debating whether or not newspapers should disappear. It's a waste of energy because there are bigger forces at work here. Yes, Virginia, the information revolution that we've been promised for so long is finally here.
Just as the industrial revolution began in the late 18th Century, but wasn't felt until the mid-19th Century, the information revolution began in the late 1970s (yes, I know computers were invented almost 50 years before that, but they didn't have mass impact until the introduction of the PC) and we're just now feeling its most dramatic impact: a mass shift in how receive and share information.
And we're just at the beginning.
Just as the timber industry held on for about 50 years after the adoption of mechinized logging, many newspapers will likely cling to a challenged existence for a number of years. But their fate is sealed: the democratization of information is here -- for better or for worse -- and newspaper closings are simply a the canary in the mine.
Local TV stations, radio stations (including my beloved local NPR affiliate), and magazines are all in danger of becoming absolete, first to their respective audiences, then quickly to their advertisers, if they can't get back to the primary purpose of any business -- creating substantial value.
Duh, right?! I wish. Instead of focusing on creating value, too many media outlets (yes, you can extrapolate this to many companies -- including creative firms) are focused on cutting costs, reducing risk, etc. But no matter how fast they run, they won't get anywhere until they get off the treadmill.
Underdog brands, being offensive-minded, get it. They are using the perceived market chaos to seize opportunity. To jump off the treadmill. To run freely. They (you!) aren't looking to be the last logging company. They're looking to be the first in something new, something fresh, something...