Media insiders seem miserable that the Independent will become the first national newspaper to ditch print and move online. But there's reason to be optimistic: the Internet has made a lot of industries more efficient – and it will do the same for journalism.
The digital revolution has brought about the biggest expansion in access to information since the invention of the printing press. The Internet has made it cheaper, easier, and quicker than ever to find out the latest news.
Journalists sometimes complain that the replacement of traditional reporting by blogs and Twitter brings down quality. They bemoan the clickbait and dumbing down. Many are assuming that's the direction the Independent will now go in.
I'm not so sure: I suspect one reason newspapers have resorted to clickbait online is to subsidise lossmaking print editions. In the long-term, scrapping print could free up resources for more serious investigative journalism.
Besides, if the Internet is breaking the big, corporate cartel that used to dominate the industry, that can only be good for consumers. As in any industry, competition drives quality up. In fact, there are already a number of genuinely interesting online-only media outlets: CapX, the International Business Times, the Daily Beast.
Disruptive innovation is at the root of human progress. So don't weep for the Indy; it's going to a better place.
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
Printed by Douglas Carswell of 61 Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex