Editor's Note: In today's global marketplace, there's nothing unusual about industries undergoing consolidation. Because of its role in the democratic process, however, the newspaper industry has a unique niche in this marketplace, and in the broader world.
This is a three-part series by Sam Chapman on the direction this industry is headed. Chapman is publisher of the Pacific Sun, a Marin County weekly newspaper that is part of the independent and locally owned Embarcadero Publishing Co., the parent company of the Mountain View Voice.
In two follow-up stories, Voice reporters Daniel DeBolt and Alexa Tondreau ask Mountain View government and school leaders about the trend of media consolidation and what it means for the people they serve.