Posting so nice, I did it twice

At Unfogged, ogged asks:
I understand that we're all supposed to be happy that TimesSelect has been such a failure, but I'm also more than a little worried. If news sources can't find a way to make money, there will be fewer of them, with less reach, and likely with less independence.
What's the plan to keep national, general interest news outfits in business?
I answered (slightly edited): Dan Gillmor in We the Media asserts that Big Media (his term) will remain because of the importance of investigative reporting, which multiple people above have noted is the main thing we'd miss if the Times and similar papers continue to die out.

In the first six chapters, (which is all I read yesterday, and thank god, because it turned out Prof. Balkin had made it non-mandatory and and half the class missed that) the mechanism through which Big Media will keep providing this isn't explained, and worries about Craig's List and E-Bay eating into classified and other advertising revenues are mentioned. However, let me suggest that the reason no mechanism is mentioned is because the N.Y. Times has no trouble at all making a profit1, though it does have some trouble making a constantly increasing amount of profit. But as a privately held company, it doesn't have to do that.

As a personal note, the only reason I give the N.Y. Times money is because I don't have an online crossword account and much prefer doing the crossword by hand anyway.

ONLINE, THE TIMES ALREADY is making serious money. New York Times Digital (which includes Boston.com as well as NYTimes.com) netted an enviable $17.3 million on revenues of $53.1 million during the first half of 2004, the last period for which its financials have been disclosed. All indications are that the digital unit is continuing to grow at 30% to 40% a year, making it NYT Co.'s fastest-revving growth engine.
And another commenter added:
It is a striking paradox, however, that newspapers, for all their problems, remain huge moneymakers. In 2004, the industry's average profit margin was 20.5 percent. Some papers routinely earn in excess of 30 percent. By comparison, the average profit margin for the Fortune 500 in 2004 was about 6 percent. If the Los Angeles Times were allowed to operate at a 10 to 15 percent margin, John Carroll told me earlier this year, "it would be a juggernaut."
Finally, ogged noted his worry that while the N.Y. Times' profits are currently very good, a large part of them may arise from older people suscribing because they aren't comfortable with the internet, and that as those people cease to be available as a subscription base they will not be adequately replaced. I'm not sure I have a response to that other than to note that such a fall off would still be a while coming and would be rather gradual, giving the N.Y. Times plenty of time to experiment with different business models or try to persuade customers of the value of dead tree copies.

1. Gillmor, We The Media, xv, "Big Media enjoys high margins. Daily newspapers in typical quasi-monopoloy markets make 25-30 percent or more in good years." No further citation is provided for that claim.