Clay Shirky on the end of analog media

That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place.

Clay is often brilliant – this is one of those essays.

The curious thing about the various plans hatched in the ’90s is that they were, at base, all the same plan: “Here’s how we’re going to preserve the old forms of organization in a world of cheap perfect copies!” The details differed, but the core assumption behind all imagined outcomes (save the unthinkable one) was that the organizational form of the newspaper, as a general-purpose vehicle for publishing a variety of news and opinion, was basically sound, and only needed a digital facelift. As a result, the conversation has degenerated into the enthusiastic grasping at straws, pursued by skeptical responses.

<snip>

Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.

<snip>

…“You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model. So who covers all that news if some significant fraction of the currently employed newspaper people lose their jobs?

So don’t be lazy – go read the whole thing!