Eric Alterman's scholarly piece today in The New Yorker examines the tension of the newspaper in the digital age. It is a sympathetic, somewhat nostalgic look at print, but it also pokes into the viability of digital news media and offers a slightly hopeful take on the print future. Like many New Yorker articles, it seeks definitiveness.
He spends quite a bit of time on Huffington Post as a new model worth scrutinizing. He has a fair amount of criticism for the lethargy of change. But he also understands the economic challenge of financing high-quality reporting as advertising revenue fragments and detaches from the conventional media.
Particularly useful in the piece --- at a length only The New Yorker would execute in this hyperattentive age --- is the explanation of the elite/democratic tension inherent in media. Alterman has been a good voice on the loss of liberal media, but this piece parks that perspective --- with one exception, when he notes that the Bush Administration's low rating isn't necessarily echoed in mainstream media.