Here’s what I don’t get. Am I supposed to feel sorry for newspapers, or for quote-unquote traditional media?
Everywhere I turn now, there’s a movie about newspapers going belly up, or about how the Internet is ruining our children’s brains (like TV did in the 1950′s, don’t you remember?). Listen, it sucks that everyone’s losing their jobs and that the economy’s tanking. It sucks that we don’t have as many dailies sent to our front doors every morning. It sucks that there’s only one major daily in most cities around the U.S., and dominantly around Canada.
Wait, does it, though?
From a pure green perspective (if that’s your thing), when we print less newspapers, we’re saving a sh*tload of Redwoods from being bulldozed. From a pure reading perspective, you still have that one major daily you can cling to. So, while the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is now online-only, you still have the Seattle Times.
What are you really losing? You can’t tell me that you’re losing that alternative voice, because the Internet makes that impossible. You want someone to tell you that McDonald’s is healthy for you? There’s an app for that, and a lawsuit.
Will your news really be watered down? Will it really be more for SEO grabs than for information and influence? And, what does that even mean?
Long before Gawker was publishing rumo(u)rs about people’s sexuality, or the average YouTube user was getting 10 million views on a video about their cat barfing, British tabloids and morning talk shows were doing the exact same thing.
I’d call Matt Lauer a fine broadcaster and I’d even call him a journalist, but I wouldn’t call him Woodward or Bernstein. Hell, I wouldn’t call Woodward and Bernstein Woodward and Bernstein.
Do you really think they were solving Watergate for their entire careers? Legends, no doubt, but let’s not create a pedestal just so nobody else can reach it.
Ed Murrow and Walter Cronkite delivered unbiased news coverage and they’re the pinnacles of the pantheon of every college student with a video camera, or for Aaron Sorkin. They were, of course, revered and knighted when they took down Joe McCarthy, or Vietnam. Righteous, but biased.
These things are forgotten by all of us until they’re re-glossed and re-packaged in films starring George Clooney or George Clooney, and even then they’re as much for entertainment as they are for us.
The world will survive just fine without newspapers.
Now, again… you have to feel for anyone who has lost their jobs, or who didn’t see the avalanche coming, or who didn’t have enough resources to do anything about it.
That said, should I really feel sorry for the New York Times? Or, is this whole pity party just another concocted fundraising effort? Newspapers have a business model, just like any Fortune 500 company or any lemonade stand. And, I’d much rather give money to the lemonade stand than a newspaper owned by CanWest, or Glacier, or Times Corp.
The child’s lemonade stand is up front about its product. “We have lemonade, and you’re thirsty. You want lemonade, and we want 25 cents.” Newspapers pretend to be something else. “We have news that you can’t get anywhere else, even if that’s not true. You should pay us because… freedom. America. Lincoln. Do you really want to see an uninformed electorate?”
You see, the girl or boy at the lemonade stand understands business, and she understands one thing that some newspapers never will: I have to want your product. Unlike a preachy newspaper, I actually want the lemonade.
I’ll give money to flood victims and folks trapped in natural disasters, but newspapers are private enterprises, and they made a whole lot of money before the Year 2000. I didn’t see them shelling it all away.
White Cover Staff
White Cover Magazine is the "foremost" source for "male" and "female" things in the world today. Kind of. We have Sports. Movies. Arts. (What are Arts?) Television. Music. And, of course, a critical look at everything in the world of Journalism, Sports Journalism, and News at large.
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