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Head of Journalism Foundation Says Newspapers Need to
Reinvent Themselves in Digital Age

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All of this excites Ibargüen, who likens the current moment to the early 19th Century, when populist newspapers were introduced in America. “We’re living in a time of transformational change,” he says. “New technologies are coming in to disrupt older forms of communication, and it’s going to take a while to sort it all out. What we need to do today is figure out how newspapers can adapt to, and survive, the transformational changes of the 21st Century.”

It’s hard to dispute the need for the Knight initiative. U.S. newsrooms have shed nearly 10 percent of their workforce since 2000, and most experts who track the newspaper business appear to be girding for doomsday.

Penn Law professor C. Edwin Baker says: “The future of newspapers is dismal. For a democracy, that’s a scary event.” Penn’s Monroe Price, a former law professor who directs the Annenberg School’s Center for Global Communication Studies, agrees. “There’s no substitute for the old-fashioned custom of having coffee and reading the paper, but the art form is looking ragged … Reporters will survive, but I have my doubts about the pulpy delivery of news.”
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