The one thing I see as a far outsider, well two things actually, is first that because they were monopolies newspapers were never the real watchdog of Democracy as much as another "Pig at the Trough" with their own power base, that balanced the other powers occasionally if they got out of hand, but were mostly complicit in that power, and mostly under pressure at the least from big advertisers, if not actually in pocket.
The second and perhaps more important thing I see is that all of Shirky's insights are also true in the much wider context. The printing press brought the Reformation but it also brought trade and innovation, and with that eventually "cheap" printing presses.
Once any person could print something that reached a critical mass audience, there was no King whose head was safe.
Those Publishers and Traders now consolidated power and became the new Kings, not just like the old, but just as fat and happy. And then along came Radio, and again there was cheap communication, and again the new "kings" were almost dethroned, but saved themselves at the last minute with "licenses" that made Radio, and later Television expensive and monopolistic.
Now along comes the Internet, and again anyone can own the new "Press" and again there is no restriction of content capable of reaching a critical mass.
The first reaction of power is GWB and a massive propaganda campaign, particularly juiced with Fear. This has been a part of the program that worked before as Communists were the boogymen and at first that worked, (the Internet was not yet at critical mass) but facts broke the propaganda model and GWB went down in flames.
Now we have a new battleground, some have never gotten it and their increasingly shrill pronouncements have left them looking as barking mad as they claim for everyone else.
But there are others who would use subversion where brutality did not work, if not to stop the now strongly running tide, then at least to turn it and protect the most potent parts of power, that they can retain their kingship as they did in the 1940's.
That battle is not over but it will not be an easy victory for either side.
This is a response to Rosen's Flying Seminar In The Future of News as I noted in a previous post the university structure sis also one of those "Pigs at the Trough"that the Internet is already destroying. It is only their gatekeeper status on the certification that one is educated that holds back the flood.