Dana Blankenhorn makes a good argument for publishers turning back the clock:
Back in the print era, journalism meant organizing and advocating a place, an industry or a lifestyle. It should mean that again.
Newspapers could prove to car dealers that of the X number of people driving past their stores each day, Y% took the newspaper. Magazines could show that of the X number of decision makers in the business Y% took the magazine – they would have names, titles, addresses. Filling out the “qual card” got you the publication for free, while others had to pay for it. And the more important readers got copies without even sending in the qualcard. Consumer publications could survey their readership and prove to people selling to that lifestyle that X percent of their market, with Y amount of buyign power, subscribed to the publication...
Journalism is not a trade, and it's not a profession. It is the creation of markets. It's putting buyers and sellers together, aggregating and organizing both sides so that you have well-informed buyers hitting the buy button, and getting satisfaction from their purchases.