Forget the Newspaper; Save the News Organizations

It appears that everyone has written off the newspaper industry, including Google’s Eric Schmidt, whose statement (above) appeared among TIME’s quotes of the day on Thursday.

I suppose I did, too. Who needs papers in a digital age? I rarely buy them any more, despite being a news junkie. And a journalism grad, for that matter.

Over the holidays, I got smacked back to my senses after visiting the new Newseum in Washington, DC, which stunningly brings to life the power of the press. (Note: The museum’s website doesn’t do it justice.)

It’s not the newspapers we should be worried about. It’s the news organizations that used to stand behind them, and the gritty journos who ferreted out stories, rather than merely reporting events.

As we lose our news organizations, we’re losing the nation’s watchdog. (Right when we need it most.) And that’s something no army of bloggers and electronic syndicators can ever replace.