Newspapers: Self-Medication

For the past four months, the British national press has been undergoing the most severe crisis of self-confidence in its history. First, an outsider—Canada's Lord Thomson—took over the London Times, symbol of Fleet Street stability. Then Harold Wilson's economic squeeze caused a drastic cutback in advertising. Finally, last week, a report confirmed the newspapers' worst fears: the industry is in dire trouble.

The papers were swallowing their own medicine; they commissioned the report themselves. Begun a year ago by a subsidiary of the London Economist, the analysis was supposed to have been quietly...

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