Meanwhile, some big-city journalists are finding a new life at smaller papers. After Denver's Rocky Mountain News folded, the paper's Washington correspondent, M.E. Sprengelmeyer, decided to buy a paper in the small town of Santa Rosa, N.M. He brought along a photographer and a political cartoonist as well. The result — a paper that is already winning awards and an editor who is exhausted but happy to be making a living in a beautiful place. "In Santa Rosa," he says, "the future of print is print."
I wouldn't be so bold as to predict the future, not in a media landscape that is constantly shifting. But when we engage in these discussions about how to "monetize" journalism, it's refreshing to remember a different kind of bottom line, one that lives in the hearts of weekly newspaper editors and reporters who keep churning out news for the corniest of reasons — because their readers depend on it.
Judy Muller is a journalism professor at USC in California.