Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Newspapers are retrograde and dying

Michael S. Malone, and old newspaperman, bids farewell to newspapers. They are dying. He tells the story of how and why he stopped reading them.

The last redoubt for the survival of newspaper was, in my mind, accessibility. Hopping from section to section, story lead to story jump, just seemed so much easier than crawling through a long story on a computer screen. Then I saw the first links embedded in blogs. There was simply nothing in the physical world that could ever hope to match the ability to leap through cyberspace from story to story, file to file, with almost infinite extension.

Looking back, it was then that I stopped reading print newspapers.

Needless to say, I still read the news, much of it coming from the newspapers I used to religiously read. But I am not reading the "paper," either literally or figuratively, that the publishers want me to read. Throughout the day, I construct my own newspaper in cyberspace, a real-time assemblage of wire service stories, newspaper features, blogs, bulletin boards, columns, etc. I suspect most of you do, too.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Yes, I’ve been noticing that my daily paper stacks up over the week. I’ll probably convert to the digital version soon (lots cheaper, more efficient, and much less garbage produced). I tend to agree...newspapers are going the way of the typewriter.

This may or may not be a good thing. The question isn’t just how much information people are getting, and not just how good it is, but also how much information they are retaining. The improved access and diversity of information and opinion are good things, but not sufficient. People may retain more in their minds if they read just a couple of printed sources and really remember what they read.

Also, the really good thing would be if Big Three network news were dying. That it’s declining is clear. But tens of millions of people are still watching this garbage. John Kerry’s 48 percent of the vote -- far more than he should have gotten -- attests to this.

Another aspect that Malone barely touches is that many newspapers now function more or less as megaphones for one or the other political party, subjugating the news to its political views. Into this category, one can easily place the NY and LA Times.

For any reader with a shred of intelligence, the daily drumbeat of poorly written (esp. NYTimes), poorly researched and radically biased news is an insult. Why pay to have a reverse flush of your toilet?

I pay for and get the WSJ online because it is well written (unlike the NYTimes, the WSJ people still understand grammar), concise and gets the facts. The NYTimes is so selective that when Eason Jones was fired from CNN, the Times acted as if it had followed the rising storm for weeks. Hello, "Pinch" we are not half as lazy or stupid as your reporters. We now have alternatives and do not need the "reinforcement" of the Times.

Soon the NYTimes which was, at one time, the Newspaper of Record will be like one of those venerated Victorian magazines for which Dickens wrote: a memory.

I figured this out a while ago "yesterdays news tomorrow"

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