The financial reasons are well known: The Internet and tax-subsidized direct mail have sucked up much of the advertising revenue — by providing better, more efficient targeting — and significantly altered the business models of many former large advertisers. (In fact, when customers use your store merely to check out merchandise that they then rush home and purchase for less, online, the advertisers themselves are doomed. See “Circuit City.”)
But there’s another reason daily newspapers are failing. A hundred years ago, readers could choose among as many as a dozen newspapers in large cities, two or three even in medium-sized towns. They tended to choose papers whose editorial philosophies matched their own, wherever that might lie on the socialist-to-libertarian or -conservative spectrum.