One Week Without Virtual Newspapers

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    American daily newspapers and The Associated Press
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Whereas the American newspaper industry is facing a crisis that has reached meltdown proportions ...

Whereas buyouts and layoffs continue to decimate the staffs of publications that fulfill vital watchdog roles at national, state and local levels ...

Whereas many newspapers have closed for lack of sufficient revenue, and many more may still be shuttered ...

Whereas the newspaper industry's best efforts to stem these losses have failed ....

Whereas it is critical that all Americans understand that daily newspapers aren't simply businesses, but an integral part of American Democracy ...

Therefore, we the undersigned do respectfully request that the owners and operators of each and every daily American newspaper and The Associated Press shut down their Web sites to non-paying subscribers for a period of one week -- from Saturday July 4 to Friday July 10, 2009 -- and during such time publish news only in print, or behind existing, password-protected Internet barriers accessible only by paying subscribers.

We believe such action will allow newspapers and The Associated Press to fulfill their obligations to deliver news during this time while also drawing attention to the threat posed to democracy by the loss of professionally staffed and ethically bound American newspapers.

We request this action solely as a way to raise awareness of the crisis facing American newspapers. In no way should this petition be interpreted as an endorsement of pay-to-access, or any other permanent solution.