Perturbed by the incessant clang of funeral bells for the newspaper business, the Chicago Tribune
's Charles M. Madigan has written an impassioned defense of his profession. "Some Things About
'Old Media' Never Change" is the headline above his column, and the point Madigan makes is that what newspapers have always done--report the news, generally in more depth than any other medium--is
more valuable now than ever: "Once the competition between old media and new media works itself out, it will become clear that well-processed, well-presented content collected by professionals is the
gold standard." Madigan acknowledges that "papers will be changing" in response to competition from TV and the Internet, but that fundamentally they must continue to do what they do best. "My bet
would be that thinking people will be looking more and more frequently for media to stop, look back and provide some context beyond crashing waves of instant news. That's what newspapers do," says the
veteran writer. Madigan's frustration is obvious and his wishes admirable. Less clear is whether he is correct about the long-term survival of conventional print papers.
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