What's an educated reader to do?
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The daily print newspaper model no longer makes sense. Print newspapers are financially and culturally obsolete -- and environmentally unacceptable. That's not the case, however, with weekly and monthly magazines.
Good weekly magazines that cover news and current events -- The Economist, The New Yorker, US News & World Report and hundreds of others titles -- can give you a newspaper's perspective, balance, quality and investigative journalism, but using a tiny fraction of the paper. Monthly magazines -- The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, Harper's Magazine and others tend to be even higher quality and more efficient.
My advice to daily newspapers: Develop a long-term plan to transition from a daily print model to a weekly print model, supplemented by constantly updated online content.
My advice to readers: Cancel your newspaper subscriptions, and subscribe to a couple of weeklies, and perhaps a monthly or two. Replace newspaper "breaking news" with online newspapers, blogs, and other sites, as well as podcasting.
I know I'm going to get mail from people who say they love their newspapers. They like reading on paper, the giant pages, the look, feel, smell and ritual of reading a daily print newspaper. To you my advice is to "tweak" your newspaper reading. If you subscribe to a bloated, ad-crazy publication like the Los Angeles Times, cancel it and replace it with a lean machine like the Wall Street Journal (it's a far better paper anyway). Cancel the weekend edition. Share a subscription with a co-worker.
Meanwhile, we should all support the newspapers' online sites by visiting them regularly, subscribing if they have something to subscribe to, and patronizing their advertisers.
But whatever you do, don't subscribe to the print edition as an act of support for your favorite or local newspaper. You're not doing them any favors. You're just an enabler, and keeping them hooked on yesterday's unsustainable and obsolete content delivery model.
Newspapers were great. But the world has moved on. It's time to kill the daily print newspaper.