Newspapers originally grew influential because they were the main source conveying information to the powerful elites about their business and political interests. And guess what? They're headed back that way! Screw democracy, etc.:
- Smaller-market papers are doing much better than larger-market papers. Why? Because they have less competition. Their local news monopolies rarely have serious challenges from the internet. They still tend to be the easiest and most direct advertising vehicles in their markets. And they're usually much less bloated than their bigger competitors. They'll be around a lot longer than their larger, massive, once great now fallen counterparts. Those bigger papers will figure out that they have to pick a niche and dominate it. That niche will be wealthy and influential locally. Otherwise it won't pay.
- They'll need to raise subscription and cover prices to cover the costs of declining circulation. That means a smaller, wealthier audience.
- The eventual and inevitalbe withering-away of big, bloated newspapers has been obvious at least since the early 1990s. (This did not stop all of them from going along happily right off the cliff). The "something for everyone" newspaper model doesn't pay any more. When that happens, what do you get? "Something for those who can pay." The Aristocrats!