Leaving aside the tiresome journalists vs bloggers debate for a moment, here’s a chewy piece by Tom Stites about the failings of newspapers over the past 10-20 years to address the needs of all citizens. In fact, newspapers have been deliberately turning away readers from the bottom tiers of the economy, Stites persuasively argues:

What really makes me twitch is that the amount and distribution of serious reporting that people can read are both dwindling, and they’re dwindling in a way that all but cuts off citizens who are less than affluent – the hourly wage earners, the marginally self-employed, the Wal-Mart shoppers, the regular folks of America.

… what we’re talking about here is a class divide – two classes of citizens, one that’s well served with quality reporting and one that’s left to the vagaries of the manipulators. Given our country’s cherished values, this is a disgrace. And it is a terrible threat to democracy, which we all know can’t function without a well-informed citizenry.

Tom Stites: Is Media Performance Democracy’s Critical Issue?