Most industries are suffering at present, but few are doing as badly as the news business.

In Britain around 70 local newspapers have shut down since the beginning of 2008. Ads are slowing, editorial is thinning & journalists are being laid off.

The crisis is most advanced in rich countries. Soon, San Francisco may not have a daily newspaper. Younger people are not even noticing.

The internet is killing the newspaper. Does that matter?

News is not just a product: the press is the fourth estate, a pillar of society. Journalists investigate & critisize governments, thus helping voters judge them. Newspapers remain the main form of information for most educated people; they expose corrupt politicians & other wrong-doers; they remain the conscience of nations. The newspaper is a package of content- politics, sport bourses, weather etc. These attract eyeballs to ads.

The internet is better at delivering focused news in real-time than a newspaper. It is better for property listings, geographically accurate weather reports, share prices etc. The newspaper is being picked apart. So, news will no longer be dominated by a few big titles of the papers, determining the stories of the day.

For society, what matters is that people should have access to the news, not that it should be delivered through any particular medium; and, for the consumer, the faster it travels the better. A move to  electronic distribution- through PCs, mobile phones & e-readers has started. It seems likely only to accelerate.

Different clicks will yield news that you want to read. You will become more focused, which is the purpose of news anyway.

However, there is no sign of falling demand for news, & technology has cut the cost of collecting & distributing it, so the supply is likely to increase. The death of newspapers will not be the death of news.