Gideon Yago appeared on MSNBC arguing "there's no question we need the newspapers," going so far to suggest that the government subsidize the failing medium. Commentators joked that the death of the printed word marks a golden age for corrupt politician.
Yago mistakes the death of one medium with the death of all media. The reason newspapers are doing poorly is because other sources, notably the Internet, do the job so much better. New technology changes things, but people still want investigative journalism. The method changes but the content will ultimately be the same, because preferences on content haven't changed. The fourth estate is not limited to the screaming Jamesons and inquisitive Lois Lanes of the comic book world. The legions of writers and bloggers that parade the Internet do it, too, but in a form superior to newspapers in virtually every way. Yago might as well said the end of the horse drawn carriage is the end of travel. Quite the opposite, actually.