Newspapers everywhere are dying, even as their publishers find a faint pulse and excuses to say they could live forever. Saturday's broadsheets in Melbourne and Sydney were once considered ''rivers of gold'' because they contained so much classified and display advertising.
Next week's tabloid editions will show that the ''rivers of gold'' have run dry. Australia is at the forefront of the changes in news delivery because it's a relatively small, urbanised and prosperous market.
So Aussies have been quick to adopt 21st century forms of news delivery at the expense of print. What's happening in Melbourne and Sydney will be happening elsewhere and everywhere soon.
In Australia, tabloid newspapers are dying just as fast as broadsheets. Yet readers' choices are improving thanks to the Internet, with an Australian version of 'The Guardian' now being avidly read online and 'The Daily Mail' arriving soon.
Sadly, the grand Aussie broadsheets have hastened their demise by dumbing down to pursue the same sensationalist celebrity nonsense as the tabloids. Serious journalism still has a value, but serious journalists are more difficult to find these days, in print or online.
Newspapers, of course, have always become obsolete the moment they roll off the presses. Now fewer of them are coming off, and the presses are disappearing.
With news already available instantly via your telephone, and soon via your watch or your eyeglasses, the owners of birds will soon be scratching to find newsprint to line the bottom of their birdcages.
Extinction for newspapers is inevitable.
Journalism, on the other hand, is being given new life. But the question remains whether serious journalism can flourish beyond the complacent monopolies of the once-great newspapers.
Deprived of revenue, choked of influence, newspapers are turning to space-filling and unlabelled promotions, as readers are discovering. The only certainty: in future, readers will have a greater variety of space-filling and unidentified promotions from which to choose.
''The glory days are well and truly gone,'' Australia's Media Watch program summed up neatly on ABC television this week.
Nowhere in the world these days are newspaper publishers boasting about the size of their staff. They know that cutbacks, lay-offs and downsizing are on the way as the newspaper world follows Australia's lead.
The end is nigh.