Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Decline of Daily Newspapers a Sad, Sad Spectacle

Eric Barnes writes:

Those are the good days. Yet for most of the past year or two, there have been too few of those days. Instead, the headlines that roll past are consistently dominated by bad news – journalists laid off, editions being cut, newspapers shutting down completely.

Nothing about that gives me pleasure, or makes me giddy. It’s sad, actually, and quite distressing. The press, especially in written form, is one of the fundamental bedrocks of a free society. At their best, journalists are an active check on power, be it the power of government or corporations or even just the masses.

That’s because journalism is fundamentally about curiosity, intelligence, the ability to assimilate and distill complicated issues and the means to publish that information thoughtfully and completely. Newspapers have proven themselves as the best outlet for this sort of journalism. Magazines are a close second. Television is an increasingly distant third.

Note that, for me, a newspaper is a newspaper regardless of whether it’s published in print or on the screen. I’m not one of those people who laments the death of print. To me, paper is a format no better or worse than an LCD screen. The Internet is a delivery mechanism no better or worse than the delivery boys of old.


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