Fallows follows up:
If there is a point that, above all the others, I wanted most to convey in this article, it is not "everything is going to be OK" or "Google is our friend" or even "here comes a torrent of new advertising money!" Rather it is a cultural/attitudinal argument about the press and everyone who cares about it. Far from being autumnal and despairing and mournful about a supposed golden age that has passed and fatalistic about the doomed state of public information and the resulting lapsed state of society, people who care about the media should (according to me) recognize that technological upheaval, and the resulting business shifts and forced individual innovations, have been the norm rather than the exception in our enterprise. Clever and ambitious people, especially but not only young people, will find new ways to do the work a society needs of them -- and to make a living while doing so. There will be parts of a future press establishment that will be worse than what we know now. There will be parts that are better. That is how it has always been. This paragraph, near the end of the story, is what I really believe:
Ten years from now, a robust and better-funded news business will be thriving. What next year means is harder to say. I asked everyone I interviewed [at Google] to predict which organizations would be providing news a decade from now. Most people replied that many of tomorrow's influential news brands will be today's: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the public and private TV and radio networks, the Associated Press. Others would be names we don't yet know. But this is consistent with the way the news has always worked, rather than a threatening change. Fifteen years ago, Fox News did not exist. A decade ago, Jon Stewart was not known for political commentary. The news business has continually been reinvented by people in their 20s and early 30s--Henry Luce when he and Briton Hadden founded Time magazine soon after they left college, John Hersey when he wrote Hiroshima at age 32. Bloggers and videographers are their counterparts now. If the prospect is continued transition rather than mass extinction of news organizations, that is better than many had assumed. It requires an openness to the constant experimentation that Google preaches and that is journalism's real heritage.
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