Notice how the Journal was the only paper in the top 25 to gain circulation in the last six month? That’s primarily because people are seriously interested in financial news right now. But it’s also because it doesn’t have downside pressure on circulation, because readers know that to get the Journal, they have to pay for it, unlike the Times.

The Kindle, at least, is a hopeful step in the right direction.

UPDATE: I should clarify that this post was meant to look at the economics of the Kindle itself as simply and clearly as possible, and how a Kindle subscriber stacks up against a newspaper one from a business perspective. It’s not an all-or-nothing situation, though. Some combination of Kindle-type device, newspapers, mobile, and Web is what will happen in the real world.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.