25 things vanishing in America, part 2: The daily newspaper

Ah, the joys of reading the paper over your cup of coffee in the morning. The pleasure of spending half a Sunday poring over the thick Sunday edition, the kids hunched over the comics on the living room floor. The domestic satisfaction of hearing the *thwap* of the morning edition landing on your porch late each night.

These are pleasures of another era, I'm afraid. The newspaper industry is terminal.

For a former member of the the Fourth Estate, there's nothing quite so gut-wrenching as watching the mighty titans of news fall. The list of papers entering bankruptcy or threatening to close outright reads, to me, at least, like the obituary of old friends.

The New York Times just mortgaged its own building to shore up its finances. The former jewels of the Knight-Ridder media empire, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Miami Herald, and the San Jose Mercury News have all suffered debilitating layoffs in an attempt to deal with severe drops in advertising and the fallout from too much leverage of its corporate owners. (Knight-Ridder was sold to another newspaper group in 2006, which then sold individual papers to other media groups). Even the Washington Post is reporting a life-threatening drop in earnings.