Highton speaks at Oxford

UNR journalism professor Jake Highton is in England where he will speak at Oxford University on the cyber-future of newspapers. His prepared remarks seem to suggest that many newspapers, in ignoring their obligations to the public, have not made much of a case that they are worth saving:

“Whether printed newspapers have a future is debatable. But there is no question that the newspaper business has suffered devastating blows. … While the demise of newspapers would be unfortunate, it would not be the tragedy many media observers call it. Those sky-is-falling commentariats see democracy lessened, darkened ‘sectors of our life’ and a terrible ‘threat to self-government and the rule of law.’ This is nonsense. Alexander Cockburn, Nation magazine columnist, calls it hardly tragic if the old corporate press perishes. ‘By and large the mainstream newspapers have obstructed efforts to improve our social and political condition.’ … Moreover, newspapers have so often betrayed the First Amendment, a still radical statement and the most glorious thing about the United States.”