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No News is Bad News
March 9, 2009 |
Is the daily newspaper on its way out of our lives? The Rocky Mountain News just closed (don't worry, you're column is being picked up by the Denver Post).
People keep telling me to not be upset, that it's just a matter of getting used to these same papers in cyberspace. You can't litter your office with cyberspace; you need stale newspapers to create the right atmosphere.
In 1968, the Editor of the Rocky showed up roaring drunk at our Statewide High School Press Day and still managed to write brilliantly at that moment, I decided I wanted to be a newspaper man.
Kenny of Steamboat
The New York Times landed on my doorstep at about 7 this morning and in it, on the first page of the business section, was a good column by David Carr on this very subject, so you could go down to your bookstore or coffeeshop and buy a copy of the Times and see what he thinks. I read the paper while standing at the counter drinking coffee and then sitting next to my daughter eating her breakfast and now and then I'd pick up the paper, fold it in half and walk over to the window and look at it there.
Time for the Times to start charging for its online edition, I think. But as Mr. Carr points out, newspaper moguls are a timid lot, not given to change. We have two dailies left in the Twin Cities, one of which surely will fold. This actually might improve local journalism which don't shoot me for saying this seems to have improved in the past few years as staffs have shrunk. I look at the papers more often now and find more that I want to read. In the old flush days, the paper seemed to go more for high-minded term papers about positive things happening in our community, but what I want to read is a clear account of what the police say happened when that man allegedly assaulted the woman walking down the avenue four blocks from my house. It doesn't take a team of eight journalists to come up with that. I also want the paper to send reporters to the meetings of legislative committees and the city council. I don't read political blogs and broadsides and the withering crossfire of partisans. Not interesting. Government is interesting. The difficult choices facing President Obama these days, some of which seem to point away from the positions he took as a candidate: all interesting. But it takes dedicated talented journalists to make it so, and if you put out a newspaper that they write, people will buy it.