I am employed by a newspaper and that naturally biases me about the medium's durability.
I have worked in other media (see bio next door) and that naturally opens me to see things a little differently than either those who have only been inside a paper or those who have only been outside one. I don't think the arrival of one medium ever irreparably harms another; everything adapts and evolves.
Everyone understands newspapers are in the throes of their largest changes since photography or coloured ink arrived. The issue isn't whether, but how, they will change in the time to come.
Len Kubas is one of North America's leading newspaper consultants. His latest report, Navigating Newspapers to a Brighter Future, isn't especially rosy about what is ahead. It's tough sledding. But he's not predicting doom and gloom, providing companies pick up their games.
Kubas assesses several problems, principal among them a focus on "performance measures" (read: high markups for high profits) that are being overtaken by new market forces (Wal-Mart's approach of lower margins and higher sales volumes).
And his prescription is a tall order: free papers, compact papers, modular ads, more colour, "lite" papers and a raft of niche publications. Most important of all: a digital-first culture.
"The major challenge for companies or industries wanting to reinvent their business models in the face of disruptive change is that in order to move forward, most will have to abandon any hope of retreating to what worked so well before," he writes.
But overall, Kubas is every bit as optimistic as other key industry reports in recent times, such as the Newspaper Next project from the American Press Institute.
In the end, he doesn't see diminution as inevitable, but he sees diversification as inescapable.