In October 2000, news industry think tank Ifra produced a video entitled “Tomorrow’s News.”

Set in the near future, the ten-minute video followed a day in the life of Anne and Kou, multimedia content editors in an eerily calm newsroom as a terroristic hacking crisis brought airlines across the US to a standstill. As a huge map screen pulsated with the ebb and flow of “news”, they directed reporting resources to cover the attack. An offscreen supreme editor is referred to like Godot.

It’s an optimistic production, and though it was released just after the first wave broke, it was an optimistic moment for journalism. The NASDAQ Composite had lost 30 percent of its value since its May 2000 peak (and was set to lose a lot more) but few believed the appetite for news on the internet was crashing. Millions were coming online every day. Newspapers eyed readerships far beyond their home markets. The market for news was growing, unstoppably.

March’s circulation figures made grim reading once again for Britain’s local newspapers. There were double-figure declines almost across […]