Yet another potential panacea lies in government funding. If we can bail out banks and auto companies, goes the argument, why not an industry on which the health of democracy depends? And while direct government funding of the press is anathema to all who value free expression, we have the examples not only of the extremely independent-minded BBC and CBC but also an innovative set of steps taken by the French government to shore up that country's newspaper industry, none of which impinge on said industry's ability to write freely about the government.
Perhaps it is a mistake to try to save "the newspaper" per se. Given the unavoidable splintering of what once was a "mass" audience for just about all forms of culture and entertainment, the old-fashioned notion of a mass "newspaper" with a sports page, a comics page, a crossword puzzle and a heartwarming story about the winner of a local high school science fair is a predigital phenomenon, however great the devotion to its daily appearance on our doorstep by old farts like yours truly. Ironically, it is the sections of the paper most crucial to informed democratic discourse that are in danger of disappearing. Sports news, entertainment news, health news, fashion, celebrity and style reporting will always be with us in one form or another, because they are such delightful places to advertise.