The Current Discussion: American newspapers are in dire financial straits. How are newspapers faring where you are? Are you concerned about the future of journalism in America or in your own country? What does that future look like?
In Spain, the conventional press has two formidable enemies: the daily tabloids that are handed out, free, almost everywhere, and the Internet. Therefore, most of the printed dailies lose money or have seen their revenues drop.
It seems like only a matter of time before newspapers disappear or take refuge in the Internet -- those that survive, that is. Today, the most widely read Spanish-language newspaper is the digital version of El Mundo; its parent print edition continues to lose large sums of money.
The second-most-visited daily is Libertad Digital, a portal that does not appear in newsprint but combines its influence with television and (soon) with radio.
In classic antiquity, it took mankind two centuries to go from scrolls to books, in the formats in which we now know them. In the Renaissance, it took 50 years to do away with manual copyists and join the revolution of the printing press. This new revolution, the digital revolution, will take less time to deal with the flow of information. In one decade, 90 percent of all texts will be disseminated by digital means and will be read on electronic screens. Paper will be limited to very few publications.
In addition, journalism as a profession will be in total crisis. Paradoxically, it will be the victim of an incessant proliferation of media. The Internet, together with radio, TV and telephony, will multiply the means of communication to such an extent that it will fragment the market -- intensely enough to seriously impair the creation of profitable communication companies.
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