WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. John Kerry said that newspapers are "becoming an endangered species" as more people turn to the "power, efficiency and technological elegance" of Internet news.
Before a Senate hearing on the struggling newspaper industry on Wednesday, the Massachusetts Democrat warned that television and radio could face the same fate "in a matter of a few years."
"As a means of conveying news in a timely way, paper and ink have become obsolete, eclipsed by the power, efficiency and technological elegance of the Internet," Kerry said in a statement. "But just looking at the erosion of newspapers is not the full picture; it's just one casualty of a completely shifting and churning information landscape."
While lamenting the fall of some of the country's oldest newspapers, Kerry, the chairman of Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, praised the contributions of online journalists and said the process for credentialing reporters to cover Capitol Hill should be modernized to include them.
But he also questioned whether Internet publications will uphold the same journalistic standards as newspapers.
"Will the emerging news media be more fragmented by interests and political partisanship?" Kerry said. "There also is the important question of whether on-line journalism will sustain the values of professional journalism, the way the newspaper industry has."
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said newspapers will not receive federal bailout money because it is a "bit of a tricky area" and it could cause a conflict of interest to help media companies that cover the president.
The purpose of the hearing Wednesday is to try to figure out an economic model for the new kind of press that the "newspaper barons of this country never envisioned," Kerry said.