I say the future of news because most of what you hear on television and news radio, and read on blogs, comes from newspapers. It is newspaper publishers who maintain those news bureaus in faraway places, support the wire services, and pay the stringers in places that don't warrant a bureau.
It is newspapers that train and pay the researchers and writers who interview the sources, organize the facts, and provide context for the stories. It is newspapers that support those months-long in-depth investigations into corruption, fraud, and malfeasance.
It is newspapers that tell the human stories about regular folk, and recognize their achievements and contributions to the community. It is newspapers who follow up later to check out the longer term consequences of the headline stories.
Without all of this, our "news" would be puffed up press releases from corporations, politically slanted propaganda from governments, 20-second sound-bites from politicians, filler items about grilled cheese sandwiches that look like Jesus, and self-serving twaddle from celebrities and other egomaniacs.
A news radio station in my home town of Toronto promotes itself by claiming that "If you're reading it, it's history. If you're hearing it, it's news." This is complete bullshit. Other than the traffic report, virtually all of its news is recycled from the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail newspapers.
I notice that my newspapers are getting thinner lately, due to reduced advertising in a tough economy. I am hoping that, unlike the Rocky Mountain News, these guys can stay the course. We need them.
An informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy.