The Future of Newspapers from the Perspective of History

January 21st, 2009

This week’s New Yorker offers a gem of an article on the historic struggles that newspapers have endured to survive. While the article starts out in the present: “The newspaper is dead. You can read all about it online, blog by blog, where the digital gloom over the death of an industry often veils, if thinly, a pallid glee. The Newspaper Death Watch, a Web site, even has a column titled “R.I.P.”

From that intro it moves quickly into an incident from 1765, when the British “Parliament decided to levy on the colonies a new tax, requiring government-issued stamps on pages of printed paper–everything from indenture agreements to bills of credit to playing cards.”

The story continues.

Not necessarily an antidote to what ails newspapers today, but an historical perspective is always welcome.