The Death of the Newspaper

Every season has its reason.

The facts are stunning: The San Francisco Chronicle loses $1 million each week.  The Seattle Post Intelligencer will shut down if they don’t find a buyer in 60 days.  The Detroit Free Press will deliver a paper to you door on Thursday, Friday and Sunday – otherwise, go to the web for the news, they say.  And the majority of the news in local newspapers seems to come from the AP or Reuters, a function of lean, over-worked editorial staffs.

The impending death of newspapers saddens me.  And the expectation that I should get my news in the morning from the TV or Internet frustrates and infuriates me.  I enjoy the quietness of the morning and the ability to form my own opinions about the news without some opinionated talking head who is more worried about ratings than ethical reporting screaming and yelling at me.  I look forward to in-depth reporting, not nano-second news.  I don’t want morning info-tainment; I want insightful reporting and analysis.

I also worry about a generation of young adults who may not get the chance to develop a relationship with newspapers.  Are we really OK with the future of our nation being “educated” by TV personalities and Internet news?  I’m not sure that I am.

Maybe the season for newspapers is coming to an end.  But I can’t help but feel that our grasp of the world and the issues we face will slowly die with it.

Until then, I will do my part.  I will continue to read the local paper every morning, The Wall Street Journal at lunch and the New York Times on Sundays.  And, yes – I will check the Internet for breaking news during the day, but will look forward to more in-depth coverage in my morning paper.

And I will continue to enjoy getting my fingers dirty with news ink for as long as I possibly can.

~ by chuckmattina on January 13, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Death of the Newspaper”

  1. Your thoughts are noble and clear. The Internet provides access for limitless dialogue and perspective that the US was built on and that was encouraged by leaflets and pamplets in our country’s earliest days. Perhaps, there is room to consolidate operations and do both. Perhaps, the Internet sites will differentiate themselves with more indepth reporting. Maybe it is the newspaper business model that has to change to allow and support qualified journalists while the business model behind them is sustainable. In the meantime, enjoy your morning newspaper and this moment in time while you still have it.

  2. Interesting post and topic. As a “Generation Y’er” myself, I hear your concerns regarding the credibility of news and information that is disseminated via more subjective mediums such as TV and Internet versus the objective newspaper. Despite the onslaught of opinions and the fading of “hard news,” I am encouraged to see more people taking part in the process. What was once an A/B conversation (media/consumer) has become a dialogue of global proportions, allowing people of all races, education and backgrounds to hear and be heard – this can be good and bad.

    However, while traditional means of news, like the newspaper, may be nearing their end (to quote Monty Python – “I’m not dead yet!”), people are already creating personal filters to separate fact and fiction, credible and incredulous information on TV and the “new media.” I get most of my information via TV and Internet, but I stopped paying attention to commercials and “click the monkey for a free car” pop-ups a long time ago. I know that’s an elementary example of what you meant, but I take heart in this filter and “media sense” that we’re all developing, believing that it will create a checks and balances news system unlike anything we’ve seen before.

    I’d be interested to hear what others think in terms of whether this media evolution will clear or blur our view of the truth…

  3. Good points – and the two-way dialogue is an interesting perspective. I think citizen reporting is at a crossroad – will it be credible, or will it be sensationalism? Joe the Plumber reporting from the Mid-East leads me to believe that more are likely to see it as an opportunity for hype.

    We live in a world where unbiased facts are very important to help us navigate the financial crisis and potentially dangerous world events. Regardless of the medium, let’s hope that the skills of an investigative reporter are valued for a long, long time.

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