Digital Future

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2009 (AFP) – Old Media squared off against New Media on Wednesday as a US Senate panel examined the future of journalism in the digital age. The demise of the newspaper industry took center stage as a Texas newspaper publisher, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, a top executive from Google and the founder of The Huffington Post website traded jabs in a Senate hearing room.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, called the hearing saying he was concerned that “newspapers look like an endangered species.”

“As a means of conveying news in a timely way, paper and ink have become obsolete, eclipsed by the power, efficiency and technological elegance of the Internet,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said.

The senator from Massachusetts noted that new media outlets were springing up on the Web but asked “whether online journalism will sustain the values of professional journalism the way the newspaper industry has?”

Kerry said he did not know what role, if any, government should play in ensuring the United States continues to have a thriving press but it