Serious news rarely pays for itself. Even in the heyday of newspapers, publishers used classifieds, coupons and advertising from the car and house sections to cover the cost of reporting the world from City Hall to Sydney. But today, you don't need the Washington Post to learn about apartments, deals and cars. Instead, you go straight to websites like Craigslist, Living Social and Carmax. "The Internet has been one giant system for stripping away such cross-subsidies," James Fallows once wrote, by letting "users find the one article they are looking for, rather than making them buy the entire paper that paid the reporter."
That's why the rise of Groupon is more bad news for print newspapers. Online coupon sites take out yet another leg that historically held up print journalism:
Gilbert said emerging competitors, such as Groupon, threaten to do a lot more damage to newspapers, much like Craigslist all but evaporated the industry's classified ad base.
"Groupon is going to destroy the newspaper coupon business," he said.
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