The news media has been a forum for commentary and conversation about social and cultural issues. At its best, journalism has been a professional practice that has done all these things ethically and fairly. Until recently, newspapers and the print media have been the central institution through which these functions of journalism have operated.   Today, journalism is in a deepening crisis in Australia and the rest of the industrialised world. This crisis arises from the disruption that digital technology has dealt to the traditional business model that has always paid for news. The sale of advertising space and the reporting of events were once intertwined and mutually supportive activities; they are now diverging. This has hit newspapers particularly hard as they have watched their monopoly on classified advertising for cars, real estate and jobs disappear in the face of competition from a myriad of cheaper, more popular alternatives on the internet. Newspapers are no longer the profitable enterprises they once were – and it is uncertain whether they ever can be again.

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