Michael Wolff, media columnist and the head of Newser, was quite resolute on the death of newspapers at a panel discussion sponsored by Gotham Media Ventures. He said,"About 18 months from now, 80 percent of newspapers will be gone."
Although admitting that he may be exaggerating, David Kaplan said Wolff was serious in saying that "the NYT will not be owned by the same company 18 months from now. I stand by that."
The main cause of the demise of newspapers, according to Wolff, is the arrival of CraigsList and other sites like it. In a debate with the CraigsList's Craig Newmark, he argued that classified adds are what "supported newspapers for 100 years" and now with CraigsList, which he says is more efficient and free, newspapers are losing their auto, real estate, job and other service advertisements to the web. This accusation is definitely not new and has been discessed for years since CraigsList started in 1995.
Michael Langeveld contradicts Wolff's 18 month prediction in a column for Nieman Journalism Lab by saying, "that works out to losing a little over two per day, every day, for 18 months. Sorry, that's not happening." Langeveld wrote in his article that the majority of American newspapers are still earning more than losing, he said, "they were profitable during the Depression, they're profitable now, and they'll be profitable 18 months from now." Whether Wolff's prediction is right or not, Langeveld admits that the newspaper industry is in "deep trouble."