A year ago last week, it seemed as if print newspapers might be on the verge of a comeback, or at least on the brink of, well, survival.
Jeff Bezos, an avatar of digital innovation as the founder of Amazon, came out of nowhere and plunked down $250 million for The Washington Post. His vote of confidence in the future of print and serious news was seen by some ? including me ? as a sign that an era of "optimism or potential" for the industry was getting underway.
Turns out, not so much ? quite the opposite, really. The Washington Post seems fine, but recently, in just over a week, three of the biggest players in American newspapers ? Gannett, Tribune Company and E. W. Scripps, companies built on print franchises that expanded into television ? dumped those properties like yesterday's news in a series of spinoffs.