As the newspaper business seems ready to wave farewell, its supporters and critics are still debating the reasons why the industry is crumbling. While the list is long, a few mistakes stand out as significant reminders that these changing times may deal a death blow to an American institution.

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Is the newspaper industry vanishing before our eyes? It would seem so, despite America’s long love affair with the printed word. The New York Times and Washington Post were status symbols; film and television drama focused on the intensity and integrity of newspaper journalism, hailing them as heroes in “All the President’s Men”.

Yet the crowded newsroom and stalwart editor’s office are soon to be part of the past, if the present is any indication. Plunging sales and subscriptions are threatening the existence of industry staples like the Boston Globe. Not only is the future of the newspaper under fire, but the integrity and accuracy of its news, with many readers perceiving current journalism standards as a type of propoganda instead of mere reporting. With even diehard journalists and journalism supporters questioning its foundations, the defining standard of journalism, the newspaper, seems the first to crumble.

The reasons why are numerous and debatable, but a few stand out as obstacles slowly dragging the industry to its knees. With competition, technology, and public perception shying away from the daily paper, the news industry is caught in the crossfire of 21st-century standards and personal preferences.

Technology is the biggest, and most obvious, threat to the future of newspapers. With an increasing desire for instantaneous news and a decrease in the number of people with the time and patience for printed pages, the newspaper is falling victim to Twitter streams, news homepages, and political sources tailored for the reader’s ideology. While many newspapers have developed online editions, much of the same content appears in links all over the web, making a source like Yahoo! home to commentary ranging from the Post to Politico.

Despite claims that the culture war is over, America remains a hotbed of political divisions and philosophical differences. The left-leaning policies of newspaper industry giants like the Times — and their unwillingness to hire conservative thinkers — has alienated some readers. Reluctant to have a publication that insults or ignores their ideology delivered to their doorstep, much less pay for it, conservative and right-of-the-middle readers often choose alternative sources for the news, including the internet.

Prices are part of the newspaper’s downfall. With falling readership rates and poor subscriptions, newspapers like the Boston Globe chose to hike prices on their remaining readers — a decision which many newspapers have embraced rather than cut staff or close their doors. Since many consumers are already reluctant to pay for news they assume they can read for free online, the decision to raise rates has only confirmed the industry’s decline.

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Lack of engagement and flexibility, both part of online interaction, have helped keep newspapers a symbol of the dark days of print-only media. Modern consumers, accustomed to texting, tweeting, and blogging their reactions are unimpressed by a daily Letters to the Editor column that may or may not include their opinion — especially since online news pages allow for instant commentary by readers. The fixed daily printing of the newspaper means breaking news and sensational stories, the staples of a busy and short-focused society, are cornered by broadcast media and internet sources.

While much of the online news industry is derived from the old-fashioned journalist haven the newspaper, the future of the industry remains uncertain in the face of growing technology and lagging readership. Whether or not the industry survives may hinge upon its ability to redefine and restructure itself as a leaner, meaner, and more “in-touch” journalism source than the current system of daily printed pages and fixed ideologies.