What Newspapers Will Die in 2009?

Chicago Sun-Times makes Time Magazines "Most Endangered" List

The Chicago Sun-Times is one of the country's 10 most endangered newspapers. So says Time magazine.

The Second City's second newspaper came in at number seven in the list led by The Philadelphia Daily News, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Miami Herald. 

[Time:  The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America]

The last two weeks have seen Denver's Rocky Mountain News cease operations and Seattle's Post-Intelligencer, owned by Hearst Newspapers, make moves to become an online-only publication (Tuesday is the end of the 60-day period the company extended to solicit offers to buy the paper).  Another Hearst publication, the San Francisco Chronicle, is also on the verge of disappearing.

At greatest risk, it seems, are papers in cities that have more than one daily in the metropolitan area, which is the case of seven papers on Time's list.   But that doesn't mean the remaining publication is healthy.

Many argue that the Fourth Estate is vital to democracy, but news isn't free and there are concerns that online-only publications, even without the money-hogging expenses of printing, won't be able to bring in the kind of money needed to keep hard-hitting journalists employed.

In a commentary last month, The Chicago Sun-Times got a bit self-congratulatory, arguing how much newspapers matter.

"No army of bloggers, no TV or radio station, no nonprofit journalism collective, no foundation-supported task force of political and government reporters will ever do the job so well," the editorial board opined.

Four days later, the managing editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel chimed in.

"Because our beat reporters are out there listening, they find stories and gain insights you can't find anyplace else," George Stanley wrote.

Tell us, dear reader. Does this concern you? Will Chicago, and the nation, suffer if newspapers disappear?  With more people reading their news online for free (we're looking at you), do you skirt our efforts to make a dollar with your ad-blocking software?  What do you think needs to happen to save newspapers, and by extention, journalism?

Express yourself in the comments.

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