Praise be the middleman
But it is an error to think of newspapers as unnecessary and inefficient intermediaries in the flow of information, as do a trio of professors at the Wharton School of Finance in an otherwise illuminating essay at their strategic-management web site.
Newspapers, proffer the profs, "are a textbook example (stockbrokers are another) of an intermediary between sources of information and customers -- a role that is being increasingly challenged by the Internet."
Well-run newspapers (and most of them still are) add genuine value by exposing, vetting, contextualizing (assuming that is a word) and prioritizing valuable and often complex information.
By contrast, stock brokers, real estate agents and car dealers mostly charge a lot of money for introducing inefficiency in their respective markets. Their services generally add little value while significantly increasing transaction costs.
If we were left to a unedited world of canned sound bites, half-baked blog babble and random Net snips on Google News, we would be much more poorly informed and chaos would ensue.