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Asking questions about the popular sphere, media and democracy.

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  1. Editorial notes
    1. The colapse of daily newspapers: A sign that democracy is in trouble
    2. Historical importance of newspapers or print journalism
  2. Examining the issues
    1. The bool Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
    2. Seeking our information ‘on-line'
    3. The wide range of media sources available in Toronto
    4. The wealth of print journalism
  3. Is the Internet modelling itself increasingly after the kind of television 24-hour cable news stations
  4. The concerns or issues about limiting the corporate take-over of the internet
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

An important question, right now, according to a recent Globe and Mail article, as well as chatter heard recently while riding the grid-lock streets listening to a taxi driver's radio, is if daily newspapers collapse, is this a sign that democracy is in trouble? Perusing the numerous blogs of self-made Internet personalities, I wonder, what is news, and how do we respond to it? There are all kinds of information bombarding us during our waking and sleeping hours: much of it we seem to know whether we ever open up a newspaper or not. Conversational banter, television watching, internet surfing, magazine page sifting, academic journals read because we are taking university degrees --- all of these contexts help us to know what is going on in the world. There is a major economic downturn; Obama is the first African-American U.S. president; people are struggling to keep their heads above water; many companies are closing

[...] Blogs and new kinds of media sites like the Huffington site, are either run by elites who have invested in the Internet and have cooperative relationships with advertisers, like newspapers have done, or are mini sites within larger web conglomerates, like Flickr, a repository for photographers to join and have their own page, where individuals produce their own pages within the site. Other possible examples are U-tube or social networking sites, like Facebook. Extensions of newspaper/opinion web products like, or, both of which increasingly have all kinds of material on them: news stories, personal commentaries by readers, cultural essays, reflection/editorials on news stories in the media, fashion pages, interviews, etc. [...]

[...] Thinking of the wide range of media sources available in Toronto, one begins to realize that even if daily newspapers were to fold (and the reason seems to be that they fold when they do not have a strong, advertising base that links to on-line advertising sources of revenue), there will still be a multitude of possible media outlets for information gathering, transmission and discussion. Besides the daily newspapers in Toronto, there are also some free daily newspapers like Metro that everyone seems to read on their way to work in the morning. [...]

[...] Stewart and Robertson writing in the Globe about the importance of newspapers as watchdogs maintain, ?Although online content can be easily accessed and shared, its audience is highly fragmented: It lacks the element of mass media, making it harder for single stories to generate the impact they might in a city paper. Several recent studies have borne out this link. One, co-written by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor James Snyder and David Stromberg of Stockholm University, found that congressional representatives who are less covered by the local press, mainly papers, aren't as responsive to their communities: They are less likely to stand witness in congressional hearings or to vote against their parties. [...]

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