Saturday, May 2, 2009

An Obituary

There is nothing like reading an actual newspaper - I might be part of the last generation to say it and actually mean it. Today I am left with the feeling that my kids will be the last generation to even have a faint memory of what a newspaper is.

I went out to pick up the paper this morning and almost couldn't find it: it was so thin! There was a time when you could slam the weekend paper on the kitchen table with a solid "thunk", then it became a "kerplunk", and and now the poor old thing is down to a "whooshhhh".
Things are particularly bad here in Baltimore, where, after having lost our second-tier paper completely less than a month ago, the trusty Sun lost 10 more editors this week, as its owner, the Tribune Company, is working its way through bankruptcy. This morning's edition was a total of 21 pages, not counting the advertisements. However, things are bad all around, and I've even observed the progression from "thunk" to "kerplunk" with the grand dame of them all: the New York Times, reporting losses of nearly $75 million the first Quarter this year.

It is too easy to blame new media for this demise, for new media is just that: a medium. It might have provided some challenges in figuring out how to generate revenue through it, but it certainly is not single-handedly killing the newspaper industry. I believe the industry is killing itself in the way it has decided to counter new media.

American papers have never really satisfied my hunger for international news, and these papers' news as entertainment, or news as opinion just doesn't sit well with me. I have been mourning the loss of original reporting, investigative reporting and facts for a good long time. Luckily for me I can get online (new media! gah!) to get my norwegian news and there is always the BBC...

1 comment:

French for a While said...

What truth you speak. One of the things I miss most about being overseas is having a newspaper delivered to my front door (the WaPost in our case). New media is OK, but like you, I love the feel of the paper in my hand. I try to read the French papers but my language level isn't good enough to get a whole lot out of it. Instead, I often resort to the good ol' International Herald Tribue.

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