Does journalism have a future?

Nicholas Lemann in the Times Literary Supplement:

P27_Lemann_web_393323hPeople tend to have little sympathy with accounts of crisis in a trade or profession. It comes across as evidence of excessive self-preoccupation, or as a prelude to special pleading before government. Journalism’s difficulties seem to be drawing this kind of reaction from many people who aren’t journalists. Isn’t the press still a swaggering, even power-abusing actor in politics and society? Doesn’t it command vast attention and resources? Isn’t more news being read by more people than ever before?

Out of Print: Newspapers, journalism and the business of news in the digital age shows that something really has changed quite suddenly and dramatically in the press industry. George Brock is a veteran newspaperman, and his main concern in this clear-headed, synoptic and never whiny book is with the institutions where he has spent most of his career. In the United States, newspaper advertising revenue – the main source of economic support by far – was $63.5 billion in 2000. By 2012 it had fallen to $19 billion. (During the same period, advertising revenue at Google went from zero to $46.5 billion.) Employment in the American newspaper industry fell by 44 per cent between 2001 and 2011. In the European Union, newspaper revenue is falling by more than 10 per cent a year. In the UK, newspaper circulation has dropped by more than 25 per cent during the twenty-first century. It would be hard to think of another industry that is going through such a sudden collapse.

More here.