For the fourth or fifth time in his long publishing history, Superman's backstory will start all over again, and the character's status quo is being considerably shaken up. The new Superman will have lost both his natural and his foster parents, and he'll no longer be married to Lois Lane (indeed, because of the twisted logic of retroactive continuity, the marriage never happened at all).
Some readers in their 20s and 30s are livid over this change, feeling that "their" Superman is being taken away. I understand those feelings; I had them in 1986, when the Superman I enjoyed in childhood was erased from comic book history and replaced by John Byrne's take on the character. But I'm older now, and in the interim I've gone back and read most of Superman's adventures, from the 1930s onward. This isn't the first time the character has started over from scratch; it's not even the second or third. The Superman of the 30s is a very different animal than that of the late 40s, who is different than the character of the 50s, the 70s and on and on. Superman endures because he evolves, and there's joy to be had in discovering the adventures of each and every iteration of the legend.
There's one artifact of Superman's backstory, however, that is coming dangerously close to dating the character: his day job as a "reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper." Big newspapers certainly seem to be on the decline, and one wonders how long printing presses will continue to run. If the New York Times struggles to retain its traditional audience, how can the Daily Planet fare?
The solution is actually relatively simple. Traditional journalism may be on the wane, but society will always need the fourth estate. Perhaps the new Daily Planet shouldn't be a traditional newspaper, with offices in a skyscraper; perhaps instead its footprint should be more diffuse, an online news source of truly planetary scope, with citizen reporters blogging from all over the world. Lois and Clark and Jimmy Olsen would have to be multidisciplinarian ENGs, able to write, shoot video and photos and submit material online. Perry White could be the last grizzled relic of traditional publishing, facing a whole new learning curve as he struggles to ride herd on his younger, hipper employees. Imagine what Jimmy Olsen's flikr account would look like; imagine the sardonic, no-nonsense tweets Lois Lane would produce. Imagine how mild-mannered Clark Kent would navigate the merciless flamewars that so often erupt on social media!
The business viability of news reporting remains a problem; advertising revenues won't cut it. Perhaps this new Daily Planet could be publicly funded, maybe as a subsidiary of NPR. Or it could be funded by donations; certainly DC philanthropists such as Bruce Wayne or Oliver Queen would donate generously.
The only problem I see with this new milieu is the lack of natural storytelling opportunities that arise in a traditional workplace. Gathering together in a central location from 9 to 5 provides a convenient setting for drama or comedy, and having all of the Planet employees telecommuting presents new storytelling challenges, not least of which is that it makes it almost too easy for Clark to slip away during emergencies to change to Superman. Maybe Perry would insist on mandatory weekly meetings just to reconnect, traditionalist that he is.
This idea isn't at all radical or new; when television news seemed to be eclipsing newspapers back in the 1970s, Denny O'Neil tried a similar trick, giving Clark Kent a new job as a TV anchorman. That change lasted fifteen years or so, until the Byrne reboot, which reestablished Clark as a Daily Planet reporter once more. That return to the status quo was still tenable back in the 80s, but perhaps not so much anymore. Clark Kent should remain a reporter...but the character's writers should recognize that the nature of his job is evolving before our very eyes.
Besides, I think it would be interesting to read Clark Kent's Twitter feed.