The news of the week that Newsweek is ending its print publication has sparked a debate about the future of national news tailored to a mass audience. It seems a safer bet these days to target the polar ends of the audience spectrum. One the one hand, AOL’s Patch, the grand experiment in hyperlocal news, is on track to soon make a profit, according to its chief executive. On the other hand, the editor-in-chief of The Economist said in a recent interview that the magazine has benefited in large part because of globalization — audiences have bought into the premise that what happens in Europe, Asia and elsewhere (regions covered heavily in the magazine) directly impact their lives. Meanwhile, The New York Times announced plans to start an online edition in Brazil.
Community journalism could soon be proven to be a viable business model. And there’s clearly a market for smart global journalism. National news still thrives in many forms — but people are largely getting it for free online. Whether people remain willing to pay for it in print form remains an open question.