[Editor's note: Jo Mathis was a columnist and reporter for The Ann Arbor News until it closed in July 2009.]
Many factors led to the shutdown of The Ann Arbor News one year ago, and most begin with a capital I.
Because of the Internet, Google became a verb that allowed instant, round-the-clock information, much of which was provided free of charge by newspapers that nonetheless expected people to continue paying for the print version.
Because of the Internet, there are endless ways to fill free time, which meant the daily newspaper became less and less a necessary part of people’s routine.
Because of the Internet, advertisers – by far our main source of income – could reach more targeted audiences at a much lower cost. (A snippy subscriber once said the only reason she got the paper was for the Meijer ads. I wanted to ask, “Haven’t you heard of meijer.com?”)
And because of the Internet, a nerd named Craig Newmark was able to start a little thing called Craigslist, which put a deadly dagger into classified sections everywhere.