It’s like 1919 for baseball, or 1929 for the economy. This year is an all-timer for newspapers, so it requires context, revision, and debate. Justin Peters at Columbia Journalism Review is asking a question: is 2008 really the worst year ever for newspapers? (As we argued earlier this week.)
He’s got some other candidates. Like!
1963: The production staffers for New York’s daily newspapers waged a 114-day strike, which shut down all of the city’s dailies, cost nearly $200 million and put the New York Mirror out of business. “There was inconvenience for the readers and the merchants lost money—but there was nothing like fear; and that was because citizens, by radio if by no other means, could still discern the broad outline of what was going on,” wrote Carl Lindstrom in 1964’s The Fading American Newspaper.
1999: Craigslist.org, the free online classified-ad service founded as a free email list by entrepreneur Craig Newmark, incorporates. At the vanguard of the Internet ad revolution, Craiglist was and is a prime example of how online outlets can offer advertisers a better, cheaper way to reach their clientele. Who buys classified ads in newspapers any more?
Well, all we can say is, 2008 is barely half over!