"Freedom of opinion is a farce,” observed Hannah Arendt, “unless factual information is guaranteed.” That is why the economic health of the news industry is of concern to every citizen.
In his book Losing the News, veteran journalist Alex S. Jones reports that traditionally newspapers have generated 85 percent of all news reporting done in the U.S. But newspapers are in trouble. The decline in newspaper circulation, which began with the baby-boom generation, has accelerated in the age of the Web and cable TV. In the second quarter of this year alone, newspaper circulation dropped 10 percent. As circulation has declined, advertisers—long the financial lifeblood of newspapers—have abandoned the field in large numbers, a trend exacerbated by the recent recession.