But newspapers have not been alone in this: the rise of cable television and satellite television at the expense of network television in countries such as the United States and United Kingdom is another example of this fragmentation.
With social media sites overtaking TV as a source for news for young people, news organisations have become increasingly reliant on social media platforms for generating traffic.
A report by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism described how a 'second wave of disruption' had hit news organisations, Since the beginning of 2009, the United States has seen a number of major metropolitan dailies shuttered or drastically pruned after no buyers emerged, including the Rocky Mountain News, closed in February, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, reduced to a bare-bones Internet operation.
One of the few large dailies finding a buyer is The San Diego Union-Tribune, which agreed to be sold to a private equity firm for what The Wall Street Journal called "a rock-bottom price" of less than million — essentially a real estate purchase.
At the same time, newspapers have been pinched by consolidation of large department stores, which once accounted for substantial advertising sums.
Press baron Rupert Murdoch once described the profits flowing from his stable of newspapers as "rivers of gold", but several years later said, "sometimes rivers dry up." "Simply put", wrote The Buffalo News owner Warren Buffett, "if cable and satellite broadcasting, as well as the Internet, had come along first, newspapers as we know them probably would never have existed." As their revenues have been squeezed, newspapers have also been increasingly assailed by other media taking away not only their readers, but their principal sources of profit.
Blogs cannot afford it." Many newspapers also suffer from the broad trend toward "fragmentation" of all media — in which small numbers of large media outlets attempting to serve substantial portions of the population are replaced by an abundance of smaller and more specialized organizations, often aiming only to serve specific interest groups.
So-called narrowcasting has splintered audiences into smaller and smaller slivers.
In recent years the number of newspapers slated for closure, bankruptcy or severe cutbacks has risen, especially in the United States, where the industry has shed a fifth of its journalists since 2001.
Many of these 'new media' are not saddled with expensive union contracts, printing presses, delivery fleets and overhead built over decades.
Many of these competitors are simply 'aggregators' of news, often derived from print sources, but without print media's capital-intensive overhead.
The Mc Clatchy Company, the nation's third-largest newspaper company, was the only bidder on the Knight Ridder chain of newspapers in 2005.
Since its .5 billion Knight Ridder purchase, Mc Clatchy's stock has lost more than 98% of its value.) Other newspaper company valuations have been similarly punished: the stocks of Gannett Company, Lee Enterprises and Media General traded at less than two dollars per share by March 2009, with The Washington Post Company's stock faring better than most, thanks to diversification into educational training programs — and away from publishing.